Dollar steady against the yen in Asia ahead of U.S. home sales data

The dollar was steady against the yen in Asia Friday as players awaited U.S. home sales data due later in the day amid a lack of fresh market-moving news.

The U.S. dollar was trading at 118.14 yen at 2:50 p.m. (0550 GMT) Friday, down from 118.15 yen late Thursday in New York. The euro fell to US$1.3330 from US$1.3334.

Commercial buying by Japanese importers helped lift the dollar earlier in the day, but many market participants were awaiting the release of U.S. existing home sales data for February.

There also was talk that some fund players had resumed yen-carry trades - a popular strategy in which investors borrow yen at Japan's low interest rates invest the proceeds in higher-yielding units - but many traders said that most short-term investors refrained from actively trading currencies.

The recent volatility in global stock markets also has currency market players keeping a close eye on stock prices.

"Many players still can't feel comfortable about trading one way or another despite the increasing stability of stock price moves," said Hidenori Kato, a senior dealer at Societe Generale.

"Fund players in particular will probably take a wait-and-see attitude unless overall financial markets have stabilized," he added, reports AP.

The dollar was mostly higher against other Asian currencies, rising to 43.692 Indian rupees from 43.530 and to 48.135 Philippine pesos from 47.980. It fell to 937.6 South Korean won from 938.0.

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