Tokyo - The dollar moved narrowly in cautious trade in Asia on Friday ahead of US jobs data that dealers hope will shed light on the health of the world's biggest economy.

In early exchanges, the greenback bought 101.97 yen, down slightly from 102.10 yen in in New York on Thursday afternoon.

The euro bought $1.3593 against $1.3591 while slipping to 138.60 yen from 138.79 yen.

The common European currency scored broad gains on Thursday after the European Central Bank held its key interest rates steady and downplayed risks of damaging deflation in the eurozone.

The US Labour Department is to release January payrolls data later on Friday. Robust figures could staunch fears of an economic slowdown as the Federal Reserve reduces its stimulus programme.

Praevidentia Strategy market strategist Masafumi Yamamoto said the dollar should rise towards 103.00 yen if the data meet or beat market expectations.

“If the reading is strong, investors will be confident that the Fed will keep tapering its bond-buying programme leading to gains in the US Treasury yields,” he told Dow Jones Newswires. - AFP