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Dollar gains on yen

TOKYO, July 3 – The dollar rose against the yen in Asian trade Friday as fresh worries about the health of the US economy supported the "safe-haven" greenback, dealers said.

The dollar firmed to 96.09 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade from 95.94 in New York late on Thursday. The euro inched up to 1.4010 dollars from 1.3997 and to 134.62 yen from 134.30.

Investors bought the dollar after US job losses surged to 467,000 in June, lifting the unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 9.5 percent. The greenback is seen as a relatively safe bet in times of turmoil.

The disappointing data suggest "unemployment will continue to rise, creating a mood of distrust over the green shoots of recovery," said Daisuke Uno, a market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

The jobs report, seen as one of the best indicators of economic momentum, was worse than market forecasts for 365,000 job losses in June. The previous month, the number of layoffs had fallen to 322,000.

With US markets closed Friday for the Independence Day holiday, markets were looking to Europe, where manufacturing sector surveys were due in Britain and the eurozone, which will also release retail sales data.

"Data outside of the US have generally been surprising to the upside this week and this has helped support investor sentiment," Barclays Capital analysts wrote in a note.

"So investor sentiment could be sensitive to downside surprises in the data releases," they added.

Last week figures showed business and consumer confidence in the 16-member eurozone jumped to a six-month high in May while German unemployment declined.

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On Thursday, the European Central Bank kept its main interest rate steady at a record low of 1.0 percent as ECB chief Jean-Claude Trichet downplayed the threat of deflation in the eurozone.

Against Asian currencies, the dollar rose to 10,225 Indonesian rupiah from 10,095 a day earlier, to 1.4509 Singapore dollars from 1.4463 and to 48.19 Philippine pesos from 48.04.

It climbed to 32.90 Taiwan dollars from 32.81 and to 34.09 Thai baht from 34.02, but fell to 1,265.90 South Korean won from 1,268.60.

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