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Forex - Aussie dollar down after construction data, U.S. jobs awaited

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Shutterstock photo - - The Australian dollar weakened in early Asian trade Friday after laclustre construction sector data with the market focused on U.S. jobs data later in the day.

Australia's AI Group/HIA Construction Index for May rose to 46.7, with the last reading in April coming in at 45.9, just off the Feb low at 44.2.

"The rebalancing of the construction sector is gathering pace with a further decline in engineering construction in May partially offset by healthy expansions in house and apartment building," AI Group Director of Public Policy Peter Burn said.

"Encouragingly, new orders in these residential sub-sectors are also on the rise although the easing of residential building approvals in recent months may temper medium-term expectations."

AUD/USD traded at 0.9327, down 0.14, after the data.

Overnight, the dollar remained mostly lower against the other major currencies.

The euro dropped to four-month lows against the greenback after the European Central Bank lowered its benchmark interest rate to a record-low 0.15% from 0.25%, compared to expectations for a cut to 0.1%.

Speaking at the ECB's post-policy meeting press conference, Mario Draghi said the rate decision would contribute to bringing inflation rates closer to the centrak bank's target of just below 2% and that it is determined to safeguard this anchoring.

In the U.S., the Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending May 31 increased by 8,000 to 312,000 from the previous week's revised total of 304,000. Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 6,000 to 310,000 last week.

In a widely expected move, the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted to keep interest rates on hold at their current record low of 0.5%. The bank also made no change in its quantitative easing program, which remains at £375 billion.

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.01% to 80.37.

Market participants now turned their attention to Friday's report on U.S. nonfarm payrolls for further indications on the strength of the U.S. job market after a data on Wednesday showed that private sector employment rose less than expected last month. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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