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Forex - Aussie flat to weaker ahead of housing, HSBC China PMI

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Shutterstock photo - - The Australian dollar was flat to weaker early Monday in holiday-thinned Asian trade with data on housing and China manufacturing ahead.

Australia is to publish data on building approvals with a drop of 2.0% seen month-on-month in March. Also ahead is the HSBC (LONDON:HSBA) manufacturing survev for China with April seen at 49.4, which would be a slight uptick from 49.2 in March

On Monday, markets in Japan and in the U.K. are to remain closed for holidays.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was quoted at 95.38, down 0.01%.

Last week, the dollar regained ground against the other major currencies on Friday after a flurry of mixed economic reports indicated that the U.S. economy may be stabilizing after a recent bout of weakness.

A report by the Institute for Supply Management on Friday showed that activity in the manufacturing sector was stable in April, after slowing in the five previous months.

The ISM manufacturing index came in at 51.5 in April, matching the March reading, which had been the lowest since May 2013.

Another report showed that U.S. consumer sentiment rose in April to its highest level since January.

Separately, the Commerce Department said construction spending fell 0.6% to an annual rate of $966.6 billion in March, the lowest level since September.

The reports fuelled optimism that the U.S. economy has turned a corner after a recent soft patch.

The dollar had received a boost after a report on Thursday showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell to a 15 year low of 262,000, pointing to health growth in the labor market.

Data last week showed that the U.S. economy grew just 0.2% in the three months to March, slowing from 2.2% in the final quarter of 2014. It was the slowest rate of growth in a year.

The weaker-than-expected data prompted investors to push back expectations on the timing of an initial rate hike by the Federal Reserve to later this year from midyear.

In its rate statement on Wednesday the Federal Reserve said recent indications of a slowdown in growth were probably due to "transitory factors."

In the week ahead, investors will be focusing on Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls report, for a fresh indication on the strength of the economic recovery. A central bank meeting in Australia and service sector reports from the U.S., U.K., China and the euro zone will also be closely watched.

On Monday, the euro area is to produce revised data on manufacturing activity.

Later in the day, the U.S. is to publish figures on factory orders. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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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 Nasdaq, Inc.

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