Investing.com - The Japanese yen was nearly flat against the
dollar on Friday ahead of jobs data and the Australian dollar was
steady as well ahead of producer prices data.
USD/JPY traded at 102.31, down 0.02%, while AUD/USD held at
0.9271, down 0.02%.
China is on public holiday, but the rest of the region mostly
re-open to mark the final day day of the week.
Japan's March unemployment rate at at 0830 Tokyo (2330 GMT) is
forecast at 3.6%, matching February's figure which was the lowest
reading since 3.5% marked in December 1997. Household spending is
forecast at a gain of 1.0% in real terms from a year earlier, the
first rise in two months after a decline of 2.5% in February.
At 1130 in Sydney (0130 GMT), Australia's Q1 PPI data is
expected to show a 0.5% gain. The data is usually ignored by the
market because CPI data for Q1 has been released.
Overnight, the dollar traded mixed against most major currencies
as solid manufacturing data out of the U.K. sparked heavy demand
for the pound, which came at the greenback's expense.
The pound hit five-year highs against the dollar after Markit
Economics reported that its U.K. manufacturing purchasing managers'
index rose to 57.3 last month from 55.8 in March. Analysts had
expected the manufacturing PMI to decline to 55.4.
Growth increased across the sector, as businesses reported gains
in new orders, and new product launches. Manufacturers also took on
more staff, with employment rising for the twelfth consecutive
A recent string of upbeat reports about the U.K. economy has
raised expectations the Bank of England could hike interest rates
as soon as the first quarter of next year.
Meanwhile in the U.S., the Department of Labor reported that the
number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits last week
rose by 14,000 to 344,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised
total of 330,000.
Analysts had expected jobless claims to fall by 11,000 to
Offsetting the disappointing jobless claims figures, the
Commerce Department reported earlier that U.S. personal spending
rose 0.9% in March from an upwardly revised 0.5% the previous
month, beating expectations of 0.6%.
Consumer spending is the single biggest component of U.S.
economic growth, accounting for as much as two-thirds of economic
The report added that personal income rose 0.5%, beating
expectations for a 0.4% increase.
Separately, the Institute for Supply Management said its
manufacturing PMI rose to 54.9 last month from 53.7 in March,
outpacing expectations for a 54.3 reading.
The reports came one day after data showed that the U.S. economy
expanded at an annual rate of just 0.1% in the first quarter, well
below forecasts for an expansion of 1.2%, though markets attributed
the poor showing to rough winter weather that disrupted commerce
earlier this year.
Despite the sharp slowdown in growth the Federal Reserve said
Wednesday it would reduce its monthly bond purchases to $45 billion
from $55 billion, as regardless of a sluggish first quarter, the
economy has been showing signs of gaining steam in recent
Investors were looking ahead to Friday's April nonfarm payrolls
report, which was expected to show that the recovery in the labor
market was continuing.
The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the
greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down
0.02% at 79.56.
On Friday, the dollar will move on the U.S. April jobs
Elsewhere, the U.S. is to issue a separate report on factory
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