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Yen edges up in Asia ahead of US jobs data

The yen logged modest gains on Thursday with few immediate trading cues and ahead of US jobs data on Friday but the currency remained under selling pressure, dealers said.

In afternoon Tokyo trade, the dollar weakened to 90.81 yen against 91.05 yen in New York on Wednesday, while the euro bought 123.21 yen from 123.54 yen.

The single currency was virtually unchanged at $1.3567.

"Players are sidelined looking for fresh elements to trade," said Teppei Ino, currency analyst at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

"They have also refrained from taking long positions ahead of US payroll figures," scheduled for Friday, he added.

The dollar saw selling pressure after data showed the US economy contracted 0.1 percent in the last quarter of 2012, while a surge in eurozone confidence also had traders turning away from the greenback.

Eyes are on the release on Friday of non-farm payrolls figures, looking for fresh clues as to the state of the economy.

The euro pushed sharply higher in European trade Wednesday, topping the $1.35 level for the first time in 13 months after the European Union's eurozone confidence index jumped for a third straight month.

"We have returned to the theme that dominated the market at the back end of last week, namely strong demand for the euro," National Australia Bank said.

The yen remained under pressure despite the unit's rise Thursday, with one senior dealer at a major Japanese trust bank telling Dow Jones Newswires that the currency's downward trend persisted.

Barclays said the unit, which has fallen sharply in recent months, was likely to continue its descent as Japan's new conservative government and the central bank set their sights on a newly adopted two-percent inflation target.

However, the yen's slide, on the back of further easing from the Bank of Japan, has stoked criticism overseas that Tokyo is orchestrating a devaluation of the yen.

Japanese officials have rejected the accusations and warnings that it is risking a global currency war.

The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies, rising to Sg$1.2391 from Sg$1.2350 on Wednesday, to Tw$29.56 from Tw$29.54 and to 1,089.30 South Korean won from 1,082.20 won.

The greenback weakened to 40.65 Philippine pesos from 40.66 pesos, to 53.14 Indian rupees from 53.49 rupees and to 9,740 Indonesian rupiah from 9,760 rupiah.

The Australian dollar bought $1.0393 from $1.0469, while China's yuan fetched 14.60 yen against 14.56 yen.