Tokyo - The dollar held firm in Asia on Friday, boosted by upbeat US jobs and housing data after slumping on the Federal Reserve's surprise decision to keep its stimulus drive intact.
The greenback was at 99.32 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, slightly down from 99.38 yen in New York but well above the low 98-yen range Thursday morning.
The euro bought $1.3533 and 134.42 yen, against $1.3531 and 134.57 yen in US trade.
“The US dollar found some support overnight,” National Australia Bank said, adding that “the gains were backed by better-than-expected US economic data”.
Official figures on Thursday showed that new claims for US unemployment benefits rose modestly last week but the overall trend showed fewer layoffs, while home sales in the rose again in August after a July surge.
The data come a day after the Fed said it would hold off tapering its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying scheme, surprising markets which had been expecting a reduction amid signs of a recovery in the world's biggest economy.
Fed easing floods the financial system with dollars, which tends to drive down the unit's value, so a pullback on the plan was seen as likely to strengthen the greenback.
The bank's inaction led to a brief rally in emerging market currencies after they suffered heavy selling in August as foreign investors fled to the United States expecting interest rates there to rise.
On Friday the dollar clawed back, firming to 62.16 Indian rupees from 61.67 rupees as India's new central bank governor was set to chair his first monetary policy meeting.
Economist Raghuram Rajan took the helm as Reserve Bank of India chief earlier this month faced with the unenviable task of propping up a weak rupee, curbing rising inflation and reviving slowing economic growth.
The rupee has been plumbing all-time record lows as fears surged that a Fed pullback would send waves of capital flowing out of the region.
In other trading, the dollar strengthened to 11,385 Indonesian rupiah from 11,092 rupiah the previous day, to 1,073 South Korean won from 1,070 won, to Sg$1.2464 from Sg$1.2445, and to Tw$29.51 from Tw$29.45.
The dollar slipped to 30.97 Thai baht from 31.01 baht and to 43.03 Philippine pesos from 43.10 pesos.
The Australian dollar softened to 94.46 US cents from 94.91 cents, while the Chinese yuan bought 16.20 yen against 16.05 yen. - AFP