Dollar edges down in Asia trade


TOKYO: The dollar edged down in Asia on Thursday as Japanese exporters bought up the yen and following data showing the US economy shrunk at a faster rate than initially thought in the first quarter of the year.

The greenback was changing hands at 101.76 yen in Tokyo midday trade, marginally down from 101.86 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon.

“For technical reasons, the dollar fell because of yen-buying by exporters, but this is not strong enough to break the current range,” said Yosuke Hosokawa, head of FX sales team at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.

“Trading is still directionless as we have not seen clear trading factors for a long time,” Hosokawa said.

“We have seen geopolitical factors such as violence and issues in Iraq or Russia, but they matter more to the euro than the yen,” Hosokawa said.

The euro changed hands at $1.3630 and 138.69 yen, compared with $1.3628 and 138.82 yen in New York late Wednesday.

In New York the dollar had slipped after a larger-than-expected first quarter contraction in the US economy, with investors taking the report as dovish for interest rates.

US Treasury yields also sank on the news that the economy contracted 2.9 percent in January-March, far greater than the 1.0 percent previously estimated and the sharpest fall since the 2008-2009 recession.

That put a damper on recent speculation that growth is stronger than the Federal Reserve lets on and could drive it to an early increase in interest rates.

Investors are not awaiting US consumer spending data for May, which will be released later in the day. Atsushi Hirano, head of FX sales Japan at RBS, told Dow Jones Newswires that the dollar may strengthen slightly later in the day if the Nikkei index gains, but the pair will likely hover around 101.85 “without much buying or selling”

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Asia shares edged lower ahead of US jobs figures

Asian shares dipped Thursday as investors brushed off another record close on Wall Street ahead of the release of closely watched US jobs data.

The euro also faced further selling pressure owing to expectations the European Central Bank will further cut interest rates and unveil other monetary easing measures to fend off deflation and support the economy.

Tokyo and Hong Kong were flat, Sydney slipped 0.51 percent, Shanghai eased 0.18 percent and Seoul was 0.56 percent lower.

US shares ticked up on Wednesday after broadly upbeat data. The Institute for Supply Management said activity in the services sector, accounting for 80 percent of the US economy, surged in May.

Also, the Federal Reserve´s “Beige Book” report said all 12 districts of the country saw increasing economic activity in recent weeks. That compares with April´s report, which showed two districts saw a decline in activity.

However, payrolls company ADP said the US private sector created a net 179,000 new jobs in May, its lowest level in four months.

The S&P 500 rose 0.18 percent to end at another record high, while the Dow edged up 0.07 percent and the tech-rich Nasdaq gained 0.41 percent.

On currency markets the euro edged lower prior to the ECB policy meeting later Thursday when it is widely expected to cut rates to historic lows. The bank is under pressure to tackle anaemic price rises and the threat of deflation.

Official data Tuesday showed eurozone inflation slowed to 0.5 percent in May, from 0.7 percent in April and far weaker than the ECB´s target of just below 2.0 percent.

There is speculation that it could introduce a number of unconventional measures, such as lowering the deposit rate to negative levels and begin asset purchases similar to that carried out by the Fed.

The euro bought $1.3596 against $1.3599 in New York, while it slipped to 139.46 yen from 139.68 yen.

The dollar was quoted at 102.60 yen compared with 102.74 yen.

Oil prices dip on hopes of Ukraine crisis easing


Oil prices dipped in Asia Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin held out a hand to crisis-hit Ukraine, raising hopes of an easing in the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War. US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in July, eased 33 cents to $102.31 a barrel while Brent North Sea crude for July was down 17 cents at $108.23 in afternoon trade.

“Benchmark prices fell due to the easing of tensions between Ukraine and Russia,” said Sanjeev Gupta, head of the Asia-Pacific oil and gas practice at consultancy firm EY.

Speaking to French media Wednesday, Putin said he was ready to meet Ukraine´s newly elected president Petro Poroshenko as well as Western European leaders at the sidelines of World War II ceremonies in Normandy, France. Group of Seven leaders, meeting without Putin as Russia was ejected from the G8 grouping in March, however urged Moscow to stop destablising Ukraine or face further sanctions.

The West has accused Russia of fomenting unrest in neighbouring Ukraine since the ousting of pro-Kremlin president Viktor Yanukovych in February. Moscow denies the allegation.

Investors fear a full-blown conflict in the ex-Soviet state, a conduit for a quarter of European gas imports from Russia, will disrupt supplies and send energy prices soaring.

Analysts said oil prices were also under pressure as dealers digested a mixed US supply report.

The Department of Energy on Wednesday said commercial crude stocks fell 3.4 million barrels last week, far more than expectations for a fall of 100,000.But gasoline stocks rose 200,000 barrels and distillate stocks jumped two million barrels; the latter was far above the 700,000 rise projected by analysts.

The surprisingly higher stocks of gasoline and other refined products suggested “weak demand during the Memorial Day weekend, which was the unofficial kickoff of the annual US summer driving season,” Singapore´s United Overseas Bank said in a note to investors.

Oil prices rise in Asia


SINGAPORE: Oil prices edged higher in Asia Wednesday as investors await the latest US supply report for clues about demand in the world´s biggest crude consumer.

The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in July, gained eight cents to $102.74 a barrel while Brent North Sea crude for July was up five cents to stand at $108.87.

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The US service sector expanded at a faster pace in January after two months of slowdown, reflecting growth for the 48th consecutive month, a survey shows.

The Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI), which measures activity in the US service sector, sped up to 54 percent, 1 percentage point higher than the reading for December, Xinhua reported citing the monthly survey of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

The NMI survey covers all sectors outside of manufacturing. A reading above 50 percent indicates expansion of the service sector.

The component for business activity index increased to 56.3 percent, 2 percentage points higher than the previous figure. The New Order Index, a signal of future business, edged up by 0.5 percentage point to 50.9 percent. The Employment Index added by 0.8 percentage point to 56.4 percent.

The survey showed the majority of respondents felt an improvement in business conditions. Some of the respondents indicated that weather conditions had impacted their business. There remains a bit of uncertainty about the overall economy for some respondents, but the majority felt positive about continued economic growth.

Analysts said the economy is not in full swing, but is not as bad as indicated by Monday’s ISM report on manufacturing. Eleven industries reported growth, including agriculture, forestry and retail trade. Seven industries reported contraction such as entertainment and recreation, and health care.

The NMI index is closely watched because the service sector provides about 90 percent of the US workforce, and is a key indicator for the overall health of the economic recovery. Separately, private payroll processor ADP said Wednesday US private-sector added 175,000 jobs in January, the smallest increase since August as bad weather weighed on the job market.

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And the senior Vice President went unto the president and sayeth unto him,
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and the business in general.”
And the president looked upon the plan and saw that it was good,

Author Unknown .