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US dollar gains vs yen on US data, North Korea missile launch taken in stride
[TOKYO] The US dollar gained against the yen on Wednesday, lifted by strong US economic data while North Korea's latest missile launch had little immediate impact on currency markets though investors are focused on how the US responds to the test.
The greenback was 0.15 per cent higher at 111.620 yen, adding to gains from the previous day when it rose 0.35 per cent.
"The dollar drew broad bids on strong consumer confidence data, Treasury yields holding firm and relief that the tax bill was passed by the Senate Budget Committee," said Shin Kadota, senior strategist at Barclays in Tokyo.
Data on Tuesday showed US consumer confidence surged to a near 17-year high in November, driven by a robust labour market.
US Senate Republicans pushed forward President Donald Trump's tax cut bill on Tuesday that set up a full vote by the Senate as soon as Thursday, although some details of the measure remained unsettled.
"As for the missile launch by North Korea, the market appears to have gotten used to such events. How the US responds, however, still bears watching," Mr Kadota at Barclays said.
North Korea on Wednesday fired what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that landed close to Japan, officials said, Pyongyang's first test launch since mid-September.
The euro nudged up 0.1 per cent to US$1.1852 after dropping more than 0.5 per cent overnight, pulling back from a two-month high of US$1.1961 scaled on Monday on robust German data.
The US dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was little changed at 93.220 following overnight gains of 0.4 per cent.
The pound was 0.2 per cent higher at US$1.3368 and in close reach of a near two-month high of US$1.3388 set the previous day after The Daily Telegraph reported that Britain and the European Union had agreed on the Brexit divorce bill.
The Australian dollar added 0.1 per cent to US$0.7604 and the New Zealand dollar stood little changed at US$0.6899.