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Dollar holds steady above ¥102

JIJI

The dollar was stable above ¥102 in Tokyo on Thursday, repeating narrow movements in a wait-and-see mood ahead of the announcements of key U.S. economic indicators.

At 5 p.m., the dollar was quoted at ¥102.43-47, up slightly from ¥102.35-43 at the same time Wednesday. The euro was at $1.2859-2862, down from $1.2902-2903, and at ¥131.73-74, down from ¥132.10-12.

The dollar temporarily fell below ¥102 in morning trading after some U.S. data released Wednesday, such as manufacturing activity in the New York region and U.S. industrial output, turned out sluggish, traders said.

But market players “actively placed buying on dips,” underpinning the dollar at lows, said an official of a foreign exchange margin trading service company.

In the afternoon, market activity grew quiet as many players awaited the U.S. data releases. “We need to confirm data due out tonight because the dollar fell on dismal economic indicators in overseas trading Wednesday,” an official at a major Japanese bank said.

The U.S. government was scheduled later Thursday to announce housing starts and consumer prices for April, as well as weekly jobless claims.

On the course of the U.S. economy, an economist at a think tank in Japan said that “we cannot be too much optimistic, but a positive mood is beginning to spread on strong employment and retail figures, which are closely related to personal consumption.”

“Dollar-bullish sentiment remains intact,” a currency market analyst said.

Dollar-yen rates showed no visible reaction to Japan’s gross domestic product data released early in the morning, traders said.