Yen turns up after weak Chinese growth data

The yen rose in Asia on Monday after China released weaker-than-expected growth data, while investors kept a wary eye on North Korea, which is expected to launch a missile.

The dollar fell to 97.83 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade from 98.37 yen in New York Friday afternoon.

The euro also tumbled to 127.93 yen from 128.89 yen and slipped to $1.3074 from $1.3103.

Despite tension-reducing noises from Seoul and Washington, the secretive communist North was expected to mark the birthday of its late founder Kim Ill-Sung by launching a missile.

South Korean intelligence says the North has had two medium-range missiles primed and ready to fire for nearly a week.

After edging down in early trade, the yen got a boost from Chinese official data that showed economic growth slowed to 7.7 percent in the first quarter, below expectations and raising concerns the nation's recovery is faltering.

The yen had already risen Friday after the United States said it was monitoring Japan's policies and urged Tokyo to avoid "competitive devaluation" of its currency.

The Bank of Japan earlier this month announced bold monetary easing steps to beat deflation, sending the dollar soaring close to 100.00 yen, a level it last hit four years ago.

A lower yen is good for Japanese exporters as it makes their products more competitive abroad and increases their income when repatriated.

The dollar may fall to 97.00 yen or lower this week after last week's rapid gains, said Rakuten Securities head of fixed income Tsutomu Soma.

A meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers in Washington later in the week has also spawned speculation that Japan might be labelled a currency manipulator.

"Though it's very unlikely that there will be harsh criticism to Japan there, we'd like to remain cautious about it just in case," Soma told Dow Jones Newswires.

The dollar was mixed against most other Asia-Pacific currencies.

The Australian dollar fell to $1.0435 from $1.0555 on Friday following the weak Chinese data, while the Chinese yuan sank to 15.78 yen from 16.06 yen.

The dollar rose to 41.26 Philippine pesos from 41.20 pesos on Friday, to 9,716 Indonesian rupiah from 9,710 rupiah, to 54.78 Indian rupees from 54.47 rupees and to 29.10 Thai baht from 29.04 baht.

The greenback slipped to Tw$29.92 from Tw$29.94, to 1,122.80 South Korean won from 1,131.53 won and to Sg$1.2373 from Sg$1.2375.