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Dollar tops ¥102 on rosy U.S. data

JIJI

The dollar traded on a firm note above ¥102.10 on Thursday in Tokyo after passing that threshold in overseas trading overnight on the back of rosy U.S. economic data.

At 5 p.m., the dollar was at ¥102.17-18, up from ¥101.67-71 at the same time Wednesday. The euro stood at $1.3582-3582, up from $1.3576-3578, and at ¥138.74-78, up from ¥138.03-06. Later, the euro soared above ¥139 for the first time since June 5, 2009, supported by robust eurozone economic data.

In overseas trading Wednesday, the dollar retook ¥102 for the first time since May 29 as U.S. data such as the Conference Board Leading Economic Index for October proved better than expected and bolstered optimism about the U.S. economy.

In Tokyo, the greenback briefly slipped below ¥102 in the morning on sales reflecting worries about its recent rapid rises and selling from Japanese exporters for month-end settlements.

But it regained steam later thanks to buybacks.

Still, the U.S. unit’s topside was limited somewhat, due to selling to lock in profits following its rise past ¥102, traders said.

The dollar failed to rise far above that line although the Nikkei average hit a six-year closing high Thursday, they noted.

A cautious mood is spreading amid thin trading as the U.S. market is closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving Day.

With a U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission report last week indicating a large accumulation of yen-short positions, “overseas players are now stepping up dollar selling to lock in profits during the U.S. market closure,” an official at a foreign securities firm said.