Dollar edges up in Asia

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Tokyo - The dollar edged up against the yen in Asia on Friday after plunging on weak Chinese data which sparked worries over emerging markets.

In Tokyo midday trade, the dollar fetched 103.49 yen, up from 103.34 yen in New York on Thursday afternoon but still nearly one yen lower than levels in Tokyo on Thursday.

The euro, which climbed on Thursday on upbeat eurozone economic data, bought $1.3681 from $1.3692 in US trade on Thursday and 141.59 yen from 141.49 yen.

“Risk assets suffered as a much bigger than expected fall in Chinese manufacturing (activity) dented global sentiment,” Credit Agricole said.

Traders moved into moved into the safe-haven yen Thursday as US shares sank on the weak China report and lacklustre corporate earnings, while they look ahead to a Federal Reserve policy meeting next week.

“The poor China data merely exacerbates the worries about emerging markets, and is pushing an acceleration in the investor pullout from these economies, which is not limited to China,” said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

The data from China - a key driver of global growth - fuelled concerns about emerging markets at a time when the US Federal Reserve is winding down its stimulus programme, leading foreigners to repatriate their investments to the West.

Argentina's peso was at 7.9 to the dollar on Friday against 8.01 on Thursday when it had plunged 11.1 percent in the sharpest one-day fall since 2002.

The South American nation is embroiled in a currency crisis that has seen the peso slump about 19 percent so far this year, creating challenges for a government wrestling with falling foreign reserves and mounting inflation.

Boosting the euro, a closely watched report on Thursday showed private-sector activity in the eurozone hit a 31-month high in January as a modest recovery gathered pace across the economic bloc. - AFP


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