Investing.com - The Japanese yen was nearly flat on Friday after
consumer prices in Japan rose slower than expected, but retail
sales beat forecasts in data sets followed closely by the market.
USD/JPY traded at 102.17, down 0.01%, after the data, while AUD/USD
spiked to 0.9292, up 0.37%, on sentiment that the Reserve Bank of
Australia will not attempt to jawbone the currency lower for now.
In Japan, core consumer prices for February rose 1.3% year-on-year,
compared to an expected gain of 1.5%, the ninth straight annual
The Bank of Japan aims for sustained 2% inflation in 2015.
Preliminary retail sales data for February showed a gain of 3.6%,
compared to an expected rise of 3.2%. Retail sales are likely to
show a higher increase in March on domestic demand for cars and
jewelry before a 5% consumption tax is raised to 8% on April 1.
Overnight, the dollar gained on upbeat fourth-quarter economic
growth rates coupled with better-than-expected weekly jobless
That latest of improving U.S. economic indicators kept expectations
firm that the Federal Reserve will wind down monthly asset
purchases this year and hike interest rates the next, which
strengthened the dollar on Thursday.
The Fed's asset-purchasing program, currently set at $55 billion in
Treasury and mortgage debt a month, weakens the dollar by
suppressing long-term interest rates to spur investing and hiring.
The Commerce Department reported earlier that U.S. gross domestic
product was revised up to 2.6% in the final three months of 2013,
from a preliminary estimate of 2.4%. Market expectations had been
for an upward revision to 2.7%.
Still, the report showed that personal spending was revised up to
3.3% from 2.6% initially, the fastest rate of growth in three
years, which drew applause from investors.
Separately, the Labor Department said the number of individuals
filing for initial jobless benefits in the U.S. last week declined
by 10,000 to a 311,000 from the previous week's revised total of
Analysts were expecting jobless claims to rise by 4,000.
Thursday's data fueled already growing opinions that a spate of
disappointing economic indicators released earlier in the year were
the product of rough winter weather and not due to an underlying
decline in demand.
Investors shrugged off a National Association of Realtors report
revealing that its pending home sales index dropped by 0.8% last
month, disappointing expectations for a 0.3% gain.
Pending home sales for January were revised down to a 0.2% decline
from a previously reported gain of 0.1%.
Year-on-year, pending home sales fell at annualized rate of 10.2%
in February, worse than expectations for a 8.5% decline, after
declining 9.3% in January.
The U.S. Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the
greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down
0.03% at 80.25.
On Friday, the U.S. is to round up the week with a report on
personal spending and revised data on consumer sentiment.
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