Dollar falls to two-week low against yen in Asia

The dollar slumped in Asia on Friday as poor US data weighed, while the euro was mixed after an upbeat German business climate index propelled it higher in New York.

In afternoon Tokyo trade, the greenback weakened to 98.70 yen, its lowest level in about two weeks, from 99.24 yen in New York on Thursday and above the 100 yen mark earlier this week.

The unit's tumble pulled Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei stock index nearly three percent lower as the dollar's drop weighed on exporter shares.

The euro was at $1.3279 from $1.3277, while the single currency dipped to 131.07 yen from 131.75 yen in US trading.

The dollar has been under pressure as a jump in jobless claims and weak demand for durable goods, such as cars and washing machines, dented hopes the world's largest economy had cemented a recovery.

That, in turn, threw into question the timing of the US Federal Reserve's plan to roll back its massive stimulus programme. The bank holds a policy meeting next week.

Comments from Fed officials, including its chief Ben Bernanke, have kept investors guessing about a roll-back on the quantitative easing scheme, which it has said would depend on the strength of fresh economic data.

"Markets are still trying to digest what Bernanke has said," Ken Jakubzak, founder of KMJ Capital, told Dow Jones Newswires.

"If they really do start to reduce (bond purchases) in September, then the dollar will get some support."

A pull-back on Fed stimulus would mean fewer dollars sloshing around in the financial system, lifting demand and in turn sending the currency higher.

Also Friday, deflation-plagued Japan logged its first monthly price rise in over a year, but the June data was mainly driven by surging energy costs rather than a broad uptick in the price of retail goods.

The euro hit a one-month high against the dollar Thursday at $1.3296 as the Ifo economic institute's index showed German business confidence rose for the third month in a row in July.

The closely watched measure suggested companies in Europe's top economy were shrugging off the recession across the wider eurozone.

The dollar was broadly lower against other Asia-Pacific currencies on Friday.

The greenback weakened to 1,111.35 South Korean won from 1,117.10 won the previous day, to Sg$1.2631 from Sg$1.2667, to 43.30 Philippine pesos from 43.34 pesos, and to 10,273 Indonesian rupiah from 10,295 rupiah.

The dollar also slipped to Tw$29.89 from Tw$29.96 and to 58.88 Indian rupees from 58.92 rupees. It edged up to 31.12 Thai baht from 31.07 baht.

The Australian dollar rose to 92.68 US cents from 91.63 US cents while the Chinese yuan changed hands at 16.08 yen against 16.29 yen.