Investing.com - The Australian dollar traded slightly higher
after housing finace data came in stronger than expected,
signalling demand from the sector is aiding the economy.
AUD/USD traded at 0.936, up 0.02%, after the data.
Earlier, Australia's Westpac-MI Consumer Sentiment for April
rose 0.3% to 99.7, but below the 100.0 level for the second month
in a row as consumer finances improved along with the outlook on
the jobs market. February housing finance data rose 2.3%, compared
to an expected gain of 2.0%.
The data sets are closely watched by the Reserve Bank of
Australia for signals the economy is rebalancing to domestic demand
as a mining investment boom wanes.
The yen weakened against the dollar as markets continue to
assess the Bank of Japan's possible reactions to a sales tax hike
to 8% from 5% that started April 1.
USD/JPY traded at 101.93, up 0.10%, in a thin data day.
Overnight, the dollar traded lower against most major currencies
on concerns that the minutes from the Federal Reserve's March
policy meeting due for release on Wednesday will reveal a
less-than-stellar take on U.S. recovery.
Last week's U.S. payrolls report came in slightly below
expectations, which unraveled investors, as Fed Chair Janet Yellen
has said slack labor markets will call for accommodative policies
to stay in place for some time.
Demand for the euro remained firm after European Central Bank
officials on Monday stressed that while fresh easing measures may
be needed to steer the euro zone away from deflationary pressures,
implementation of such tools is not imminent.
Last week the ECB left the door open to further stimulus
measures, saying that unconventional monetary policy instruments
may be necessary to avert the risk of ongoing low inflation in the
Elsewhere, emerging-market currencies rose across the board on
sentiments that even though the Federal Reserve will continue to
unwind its bond-purchasing program this year, policy will remain
loose for some time to come and make higher-yielding currencies
Escalating tensions in Ukraine chipped away at the dollar as
Pro-Russian activists in Ukraine's industrial center of Donetsk
declared their independence from Kiev, a move Ukrainian leaders
described as part of a Russian-orchestrated plan to justify an
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier that Russian
agents were encouraging unrest in eastern Ukraine and said Moscow
was preparing military action in the region.
The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback
versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.04% at
On Tuesday, the dollar will move as markets digest the minutes
of the Federal Reserve's March policy meeting.
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