Forex - Japanese yen weaker in Asia as regional data mixed


Shutterstock photo - - The Japanese yen weakened further in Asia on Friday and the Australian dollar eased after data sets that painted a mixed picture of the regional economy.

USD/JPY traded at 102.90, up 0.10%, while AUD/USD traded at 0.9288, down 0.07%.

In Australia, the AI Group's July manufacturing index rose 1.7 points to 50.7, reversing a June decline and breaking out of contraction after eight months.

AI Group chief executive Innex Willox said that while the sector has shown resilience in the face of strong headwinds, respondents expressed renewed concern about the strong Australian dollar.

In China, the July CFLP manufacturing PMI rose to 51.7 from June's 51.0 and the HSBC's final July manufacturing PMI came in at 51.7, below the flash level of 52, but well above the June final of 50.7.

Investors may be looking for a fifth straight month of improvement in the government-associated survey following June's increase to 51.0. Markets rose last week following a surprisingly strong 52.0 flash reading of the HSBC PMI. It was the highest level in 18 months.

At 1130 in Sydney, second quarter PPI data is due. In the first quarter a 0.9% increase was recorded. Later in the day, the RBA's commodity price index for July is due at 1630 (0630 GMT). In June the index fell 2.8%.

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda is due to speak at a seminar in Tokyo from 1230 to 1330 Tokyo time (0330 to 0430 GMT).

Overnight, the dollar strengthened against most major currencies as investors bet Friday's July jobs report will come in solid and paint a picture of a more robust U.S. economy.

The Labor Department on Friday will release its July nonfarm payrolls report, and consensus forecasts see the U.S. economy picking up 230,000 new jobs.

Even if the figure comes in below that number, a reading over 200,000 would represent six straight months of beating that threshold, a sign the labor market is improving even if it's still a little slack.

Earlier Thursday, the Labor Department reported that the number of individuals filing for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week rose by 23,000 to 302,000 from the previous week's total of 279,000. Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 22,000 to 301,000.

The Labor Department added that the employment cost index rose by 0.7% in the three months to June after a 0.3% increase in the first quarter. Economists had expected a 0.5% gain.

The dollar continued to see support from Thursday's U.S. gross domestic product report.

The U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 4.0% in the three months to June, blowing past forecasts for a 3.0% reading, according to the Commerce Department. The contraction in the first quarter was revised to 2.1% from a previously reported 2.9%.

Capping the dollar's advance, however, were concerns that ongoing U.S.-European tensions with Russia over Ukraine will dampen global recovery, which could prompt central banks around the world to keep monetary policies loose for longer than once anticipated.

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.02% at 81.55.

On Friday, markets will move on the U.S. nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment reports, while the Institute of Supply Management is to release data on manufacturing activity. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.
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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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