TOKYO- The yen picked up in Asia on Wednesday as US-led strikes on militants in Syria and a survey showing further weakness in eurozone business activity fanned uncertainty.
In Tokyo midday trading, the greenback eased to 108.59 yen from 108.87 yen in New York and off levels above 109 yen seen last week.
The euro dipped to 139.62 yen from 139.91 yen in US trade, while it also bought $1.2852 against $1.2850.
“The yen remains a highly sensitive barometer of risk appetite, as illustrated by its gains following the start of US air strikes in Syria,” said CLSA equity strategist Nicholas Smith.
Traders tend to move into the safe-haven Japanese unit during times of economic or political turmoil.
The United States said it had been joined by Arab allies in unleashing air strikes against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.
Dozens of IS and al-Qaeda militants were reported killed in the raids, which Washington said had partly targeted extremists plotting an “imminent attack” against the West.
In Europe a closely watched gauge of business activity in the 18-nation eurozone slipped again in September, adding to worries about the region’s stuttering recovery.
The Market Economics composite purchasing managers index (PMI) saw a second consecutive fall in September, hitting a nine-month low of 52.3 from 52.5 points in August. A reading above 50 suggests growth and anything below points to a contraction.
“In Europe, the flash estimates of September PMIs made for ugly reading,” National Australia Bank said.