May 14, 2014 6:19 pm JST

Dollar slack in lower 102 yen after soft U.S. retail data

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The U.S. dollar traded in a narrow range in the lower 102 yen zone on Wednesday in Tokyo, failing to regain upward momentum after April U.S. retail sales data released overnight dampened traders' outlook on the world's largest economy.

     At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 102.10-11 yen compared with 102.21-31 yen in New York and 102.32-33 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Tuesday. It moved between 102.07 yen and 102.28 yen during the day, changing hands most frequently at 102.15 yen.

     The euro was quoted at $1.3716-3717 and 140.04-08 yen against $1.3698-3708 and 140.06-16 yen in New York and $1.3769-3770 and 140.89-93 yen in Tokyo late Tuesday afternoon.

     The dollar largely flattened out against the yen in Tokyo after sliding within the lower 102 yen range in New York overnight as data showed U.S. retail sales grew just 0.1 percent in April, weaker than market expectations, said Yuji Kameoka, chief foreign exchange strategist at Daiwa Securities Co.

     "Although April retail sales were underwhelming, the already strong March figure was revised upward, so put together the news isn't so bad but the lingering weak dollar sentiment has kept the currency from rising any further," Kameoka said.

     Some yen buying in Tokyo was driven by the increase in Japan's corporate goods price index for April released in the morning, he added.

     The euro maintained its lows against the dollar and yen after slipping overnight following a report by the Wall Street Journal that the German central bank will back the antideflationary stimulus measures the European Central Bank is widely expected to adopt in its policy meeting next month, Kameoka said.

     The release late Tuesday of Germany's ZEW business confidence index for May, which dropped to 33.1 from April's 43.2, further inhibited euro-buying sentiment, he said.

     "The German central bank's news was the main driver of the euro's sharp fall, with the ZEW index adding fuel to the fire," he said.

     A rash of U.S. economic indicators due Thursday and Friday are unlikely to have much impact on exchange rates amid an atmosphere of caution expected to continue until the end of the month, said Toru Moritani, chief market economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.