Forex - Japanese yen strengthens after CPI data matches expectations

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Investing.com - The Japanese yen strengthened further in early Asia on Friday after consumer price, unemployment and household spending data presented a mixed economic picture.

USD/JPY traded at 103.67, down 0.06%, after the data, while AUD/USD held flat at 0.9356.

National core CPI data for July, year-on-year in Japan rose 3.3%, meeting expectations and posting a 14th straight gain.


At the same time, the unemployment rate edged higher to 3.8%, compared to an expected 3.7% for July. Household spending fell 5.9%, slumping more than a forecast 3.0% year-on-year drop in real terms and notching a fourth consecutive year-on-year drop.

Then there's July retail sales and industrial production due at 0850 (2350 GMT).

Industrial production is forecast at +0.3% gain month-on-month, the first rise in two months, while retail sales gained a forecasted 0.1%, breaking straight falls following a sales tax hike in April to 8% from 5%.

Later in the session at 1130 in Sydney (0130 GMT), the RBA's July private sector credit data are due. Private sector credit is forecast to rise 0.5% month-on-month in July, slowing slightly from 0.7% rise in June.

Back to Japan before the week ends, there's July housing starts data at 1400 (0500 GMT), expected to show a drop of 10.5% year-on-year.

Overnight, the dollar traded largely higher against most major currencies after data revealed the U.S. economy is growing, the labor market improving and pending home sales on the rise, though escalating tensions in Ukraine watered down the greenback's advance.

A top Ukrainian military official was reported as saying earlier that a "full-scale invasion" was taking place in the country, while separate reports that up to 1,000 Russian troops were in Ukraine to assist pro-Russian rebels watered down demand for the dollar.

The U.N., meanwhile, was holding an emergency meeting to address the crisis, which sent investors sidestepping the dollar on fears military conflicts will dampen the global recovery and drag on the U.S. economy as a consequence.

The dollar firmed earlier and held onto gains stemming from upbeat U.S. data before geopolitical concerns sparked profit taking.

The U.S. gross domestic product grew at a revised annualized rate of 4.2% in the second quarter of this year, according to the Commerce Department, up from a preliminary estimate of 4.0% and better than market forecasts for a downward revision to 3.9%.

The numbers firmed the dollar earlier by cementing expectations that the Federal Reserve will close its bond-buying program around October and hike benchmark interest rates some time in 2015.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending Aug. 22 declined by 1,000 to 298,000 from the previous week's revised total of 299,000.

Analysts were expecting the figure to rise by 1,000 instead of contract by that amount, which gave the greenback support.

A separate report showed that U.S. pending home sales increased by 3.3% last month, beating expectations for a 0.5% rise. June's figure was revised to a 1.3% drop from a previously estimated decline of 1.1%.

In Europe, data revealed that the number of unemployed people in Germany rose by 2,000 last month, confounding expectations for a decline of 5,000. The change in the number of unemployed people for June was revised to a 11,000 drop from a previously estimated 12,000 decline.

The euro had found support earlier, as expectations for fresh stimulus measures by the European Central Bank slightly eased after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble said on Wednesday that ECB President Mario Draghi's recent comments on the matter have been "overinterpreted."

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was flat at 82.53.

On Friday, expect the greenback to move on U.S. personal spending and income reports, a Chicago-area factory gauge and consumer sentiment figures.

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