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US dollar holds gains, US data awaited for fresh incentive

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The US dollar held to gains against the yen and euro on Friday, awaiting US data later in the day that could set the greenbacks tone.

[TOKYO] The US dollar held to gains against the yen and euro on Friday, awaiting US data later in the day that could set the greenbacks tone.

The US dollar was steady at 108.96 yen after gaining about 0.6 per cent overnight.

The US currency, which had hit an 18-month low of 105.55 yen last week after the Bank of Japan stood pat on monetary policy, was on track to rise 1.8 per cent on the week. Verbal warnings by Japanese authorities over the past week have so far helped cool the yen's rally.

The euro stood little changed at US$1.1375 after shedding 0.4 per cent on Thursday.

The US dollar was buoyed overnight as US Treasury yields rose when Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren said the Fed should raise interest rates if data confirms a stronger jobs market and inflation outlook in the second quarter. He added that the markets are too pessimistic on the economy.

The currency market will have a chance to gauge the underlying strength of the US economy through a batch of data to be released later in the day.

"In terms of impact on the dollar, April retail sales data will be key, especially since a high rise is expected. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index also bears watching," said Shin Kadota, chief Japan FX strategist at Barclays in Tokyo.

The April producer price index (PPI) is due later in the day.

The pound was steady at US$1.4445, having spiked briefly overnight to a two-week high of US$1.4532. Sterling rose on Thursday after Bank of England policymakers voted unanimously to keep interest rates unchanged, quashing talk that one or two might vote in favour of a cut.

The BOE said sterling could fall sharply and unemployment would probably rise should Britain opt to leave the European Union - its starkest warning so far of the likely impact a "Brexit" could have.

The Australian dollar, weighed down recently by an interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia and drop in the price of iron ore, remained on the back foot against a buoyant dollar.

The Aussie was down 0.1 per cent at US$0.7318, adding to an overnight loss of 0.7 per cent. It was poised to fall 0.7 per cent against greenback this week, during which it plumbed a two-month low of US$0.7300.

REUTERS