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Dollar climbs above ¥98.30 level

JIJI

The dollar was firmer above ¥98.30 in Tokyo trading Tuesday, supported by Japanese stock price gains and speculation about closely followed U.S. economic data.

At 5 p.m., the dollar was quoted at ¥98.32-32, up from ¥98.05-08 at the same time Monday. The euro stood at $1.3677-3681, up from $1.3673-3675, and at ¥134.47-50, up from ¥134.07-10.

The greenback rose to around ¥98.30 toward the midmorning fixing on the back of real demand-backed purchases, traders said.

The U.S. currency held steady after that, as the Nikkei average turned higher from late morning trading after a weak opening, according to traders.

In the afternoon, dollar-yen trading grew quiet amid a wait-and-see mood ahead of the U.S. Labor Department’s announcement of September employment data later Tuesday.

The U.S. employment report, the release of which was delayed by more than two weeks due to the U.S. government shutdown earlier this month, won’t be much use in evaluating the current state of the economy, a major Japanese bank official said.

But “the U.S. Federal Reserve still attaches the utmost importance” to the labor statistics among other economic data, said an official of a foreign exchange margin trading service firm.

The market consensus was for a nonfarm payroll increase of some 180,000 during September, but some market players started tilting toward a stronger outcome, a currency market broker said, noting that the speculation was providing some underpinnings to the dollar.

But even if the September data turned out stronger than the consensus forecast, the dollar was unlikely to rise markedly, traders said.