Dollar Tad Higher Against Yen After China Data

The dollar was a tad higher against the yen in directionless Asian trade Tuesday, as China economic data failed to ease risk aversion.

At about 0450 GMT, the greenback was up at Y117.56 from Y117.31 late Monday in North America.

China’s gross domestic product expanded 6.8% from a year earlier in the October-December quarter, compared with a market consensus for 6.9% growth. Last year, China recorded a pronounced deceleration in growth with a 6.9% pace, the weakest in a quarter century.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei Stock Average was down 0.1% midday Tuesday at 16937.28, after closing below the key 17000 Monday for the first time since September. The Shanghai Composite Index was last up 1.6%.

The dollar remained directionless, with some investors positive because the China data was largely in line with expectations, while others were disappointed to see GDP growth below 7%, said Marito Ueda, director at FX Prime byGMO.

“We have a slew of trading cues amid a risk-off mood,” and all of them including oil prices, China-related figures among others can’t be positive, making it difficult for investors to see a dramatic turnaround in risk appetite, said Mr. Ueda, adding that the dollar’s gains will be capped above the 118-mark.

But after finding a slew of bids being placed between Y116.00 and Y116.50, “investors are unable to embark on major selling,” he said.

The dollar was slightly higher against the euro, which declined to $1.0885 midday from $1.0899. The common currency was at Y128.50 from Y127.84.

Among other currency pairs, the Australian dollar, which is very sensitive to Chinese growth, rose to $0.6875 and Y80.83 midday, from $0.6860 and Y80.49 respectively.

The WSJ Dollar Index, a measure of the dollar against a basket of major currencies, was up 0.02% at 91.53.
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