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Dollar rebounds above ¥96 level

JIJI

The dollar rose back to levels above ¥96 in Tokyo Thursday, after new economic data reinforced market optimism about the U.S. economy.

At 5 p.m., the dollar was quoted at ¥96.18-20, up from ¥95.47-49 at the same time Wednesday. The euro stood at $1.2954-2956, down from $1.3061-3063, and at ¥124.62-65, down from ¥124.71-73.

U.S. Commerce Department data, released Wednesday, showed the nation’s retail sales for January increased 1.1 percent from the previous month, beating the market’s consensus forecast.

“The U.S. economy is clearly recovering,” a foreign-affiliated brokerage official said, noting that the Labor Department’s jobs data last week was surprisingly strong and following consumption-related indicators were upbeat as well.

The retail sales report pushed up the dollar above ¥96 in overseas trading and the strength was maintained in Tokyo trading Thursday, traders said.

After changing hands above ¥96 in early trading, the greenback gave in to position-adjustment selling and fell around ¥95.70.

But it retook the ¥96 line in the afternoon as Japanese stock prices expanded their gains, according to a foreign exchange market broker.

“As the dollar has risen rapidly against the yen, it will take some time to break out of the recent range to head further north,” a major Japanese bank official said.

The dollar needs new positive factors in order to scale to new highs, a market source added.

On Thursday, the Lower House confirmed Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda as the next Bank of Japan governor, along with two others nominated by the government to be deputy governors of the central bank.