Source AP ©

Dollar edges higher versus yen

The dollar edged higher against the yen Thursday in Asia, but disappointing U.S. economic data was weighing on the American currency.

The U.S. dollar slipped to 116.35 yen early in the session, down from 116.55 yen late Wednesday in New York. The dollar was trading at 116.60 yen midafternoon. The euro rose to US$14240 from US$1.4186.

The dollar came under pressure after gloomy economic prospects stemming from U.S. housing data weighed on the greenback.

U.S. economic reports, released Wednesday, showed a plunge in new home construction, higher inflation and cooler third-quarter economic activity.

Should the euro gain significantly against the greenback in the near term, growing downward pressure on the dollar may eventually also push it further down against the yen, traders said.

The euro advanced against the dollar and the yen in Asia Thursday as players reevaluated the risks for the single unit associated with Friday's meeting of Group of Seven finance chiefs in Washington.

"Players had been selling the euro too much the past few days on worries over the G7 meeting," said Satoshi Okagawa, head of the foreign exchange forward trading group at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. "Now expecting not much to happen (at the meeting), they have bought the currency back."

G7 finance chiefs may discuss the U.S. currency's weakness and the euro's continued strength at their meeting Friday, as an increasing number of European officials have expressed dismay over recent foreign exchange rates.

Against other regional currencies, the dollar was mixed, rising to 39.510 Indian rupees from 39.36 the previous day, and to 44.060 Philippine peso from 43.94. It fell to 7.7523 Hong Kong dollars from 7.7547, and to 918.1 South Korean won from 918.5, however.