The dollar fell against the yen in Asian trading Thursday, hurt by year-end selling by Japanese exporters, life insurers and other investors.
But many traders expected the U.S. currency to bounce back on expectations Japan's central bank will hold off from a quick interest rate hike.
"It's doubtful that there'll be a rate hike in January," said Osao Iizuka, head of foreign-exchange trading at Sumitomo Trust & Banking. "The yen is likely to stay under pressure."
At 3 p.m. (0600 GMT) Thursday, the dollar was trading at 118.71 yen on the Tokyo foreign exchange market, down from 118.74 yen late Wednesday in New York. The euro rose to US$1.3130, from US$1.3123.
While the Tokyo market was relatively quiet ahead of the New Year's holiday, analysts said that U.S. and European players back from Christmas vacation may look for cues from U.S. economic data slated for release later in the day.
The view that the U.S. economy may be slowly picking up was also expected to prompt players to prefer the dollar over the yen.
The National Association of Purchasing Management Chicago was slated to issue its index of area business activity for December later Thursday. Used home sales data are also due Thursday.
The dollar was mixed against other regional currencies, falling to 7.7753 Hong Kong dollars from 7.7767 and to 1.5362 Singapore Dollars from 1.5372, and falling to 3.5335 Malaysian Ringt from 3.5325 and to 44.375 Indian Rupees from 44.140.