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Dollar slips against yen in Christmas trade

TOKYO, December 25 – The dollar slipped against the yen in Asian trade on Thursday after more bleak data on the US economy, but movement was limited as many dealers stayed on the sidelines on the Christmas holiday.

The dollar was trading at 90.36 yen in the afternoon in Tokyo, down from 90.59 yen in shortened pre-Christmas New York trading on Wednesday.

The greenback dipped due to sell orders from Japanese exporters, although importers\’ orders cancelled out much of the fall, dealers said.

The euro bought 1.3993 dollars, barely changed from 1.3991 dollars in New York, while slightly easing to 126.48 yen from 126.68. US and European markets were to be closed Thursday.

Dealers said the dollar\’s fall was limited after another round of grim US economic data.

"Positive figures would be a surprise but markets are well braced for bad data from the United States," said Societe Generale\’s forex head Yuji Saito.

The US Commerce Department reported on Wednesday that personal income contracted 0.2 percent in November from the previous month while consumption expenditures shrank 0.6 percent, in a further sign of a consumer slowdown.

A report also showed that new US jobless claims rose by 30,000 over the past week to 586,000.

Dealers said pressure was easing somewhat on the US currency as the economic downturn becomes increasingly global.

"For one thing, Japanese exporters\’ performance is rapidly worsening, and that means less dollar-selling for settlement," Kimihiko Tomita, head of foreign exchange at State Street Bank, told Dow Jones Newswires.

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"And non-Japanese investors are unlikely to buy Japanese stocks actively in this environment. So the money flow from overseas may become thinner."

The dollar was mixed in regional Asian trade.

It eased to 1,304.30 South Korean won from 1,309.70 on Wednesday, to 47.41 Philippine pesos from 47.66, to 1.4428 Singapore dollars from 1.4478 and to 32.95 Taiwan dollars from 33.05.

The dollar firmed to 34.75 Thai baht from to 34.60 and to 11,200 Indonesian rupiah from 11,165.

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