The Japanese yen held onto gains against the dollar on Friday, as fresh doubts about the scale of the coronavirus outbreak supported demand for safe-haven currencies.
The Chinese yuan nursed losses as the flu-like virus, which emerged late last year in China's central Hubei province, slammed the brakes on consumer spending and manufacturing.
The euro languished at multi-year lows versus the dollar and the Swiss franc as investors grow more pessimistic about the outlook in the euro zone before the release of gross domestic product data later on Friday.
In contrast, the pound rode a wave of optimism into Asia on Friday due to hopes that a British cabinet reshuffle will lead to more expansionary fiscal policy to support growth.
Officials in Hubei stunned financial markets on Thursday by announcing a sharp increase in new infections and deaths from the coronavirus, reflecting the adoption of a new method to diagnose the illness.
Uncertainty about the real extent of the epidemic is likely to discourage investors from taking on excessive risk until there is sufficient evidence that its spread has slowed.
The yen held steady at 109.81 per dollar in Asia on Friday, following a 0.25% gain the previous session.
In the onshore market, the yuan slipped 0.09% to 6.9841 per dollar, while its offshore counterpart eased slightly to 6.9860, following a 0.2% decline on Thursday.
Source : Reuters