Forex - USD/JPY flat after positive economic data from Japan

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Investing.com - The Japanese yen traded flat agains the dollar in early Asian trade on Friday after better than expected industrial production and retail sales data from Japan.

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry reported on Friday that industrial production in January rose 4% against an expectation of 3%. In December it rose by 0.9%. Year-on-year retail sales rose 4.4% in January against a forecast of a 3.8% rise and the previous increase of 2.6%.

Japan's Statistics Bureau also reported on Friday that YoY Tokyo core CPI rose 0.9% in January against a forecast of 0.8% and a previous figure of 0.7%. Year-on-year Tokyo CPI also rose 1.1% in comparison to 0.7% rise a year earlier.

Japan also said that year-on-year household spending rose by 1.1% against a forecast of a 0.2% rise and a 0.7% rise a year earlier.

In New Zealand, ANZ reported that business confidence index rose to 70.8% in February from 64.1% in December, surging to the higest level since 1994.

Private sector credit in Australia rose 0.4%, matching expectations. In December it rose by 0.5%.

In early trade USD/JPY traded flat at 102.12, AUD/USD was down 0.09% at 0.8957. while NZD/USD fell 0.04% at 0.8365.

On Thursday, the dollar weakened against most major currencies after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told U.S. legislators monetary authorities were concerned over soft economic indicators though monetary policy remains on course for now.

Disappointing weekly jobless claims numbers softened the greenback as well.

Recent manufacturing, jobs and other economic indicators have disappointed markets, leaving investors unclear if recovery has hit a soft patch or if a string of winter storms has put commerce temporarily on hold.

Speaking before the Senate banking committee, Yellen told lawmakers it was hard to say how much the recent soft data was due to rough winter weather and added that the bank would remain attentive to signals on whether the recovery is progressing in line with expectations.

Her comments softened the dollar by clouding expectations as to how slowly the Fed will taper its monthly bond-buying program, which weakens the greenback by suppressing long-term interest rates to spur recovery.

Also softening the dollar, weekly data revealed that the number of individuals filing for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week rose more than expected.

The Labor Department said the number of people filing for initial jobless benefits rose by 14,000 to 348,000 from the previous week's total of 334,000. Analysts had expected an increase of just 1,000, and the numbers rekindled expectations for a very gradual tapering of Fed asset purchases.

Also on Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that U.S. durable goods orders declined by a seasonally adjusted 1% last month, less than expectations for a 1.5% drop.

Core durable goods orders, excluding volatile transportation items, rose 1.1% in January, the largest increase since May, confounding forecasts for a 0.3% decline, which gave the dollar some support.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.01% at 80.30.

On Friday, the U.S. is to released revised data on fourth-quarter growth, a report on manufacturing activity in the Chicago region, revised data on consumer sentiment and private-sector data on pending home sales.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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