Forex - Dollar lower despite rising Europe fears

Shutterstock photo - The U.S. dollar is trading lower against nearly all of its major rivals in Asia Thursday even as traders deal with escalating fears about the shape of the euro zone.

In Asian trading Thursday, EUR/USD is lower by 0.02% at 1.2777 after the head of Italy's center-left alliance, Pier Luigi Bersani, ruled out forming a coalition any time soon. Following February's Italian election results, traders have been fearful that the new government would be no more than gridlock and not allow for additional austerity measures.

Elsewhere, the European Commission reported earlier that its euro zone Economic Sentiment Indicator fell to 90.0 in March from 91.1 in February.

Analysts were expecting the index to fall to 90.4 last month, which further weakened the euro and bolstered gold's appeal as did lingering concerns surrounding the terms tied to Cyprus's recent bailout.

In other Europe-related news, Poland, classified by many as emerging market, reaffirmed its desire to join the euro zone and adopt the common currency.

USD/JPY fell 0.13% to 94.34 after Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said that retail sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of -2.3% in February from -1.1% in January. Analysts had expected retail sales to fall at annual rate of to -1.2% last month.

GBP/USD rose 0.08% to 1.541. Official data released Wednesday revealed that the U.K. economy contracted by 0.3% in the three months to December, in line with preliminary estimates and analysts' forecasts. Growth for all of 2012 was revised down to 0.2% from a preliminary estimate for 0.3% expansion.

USD/CHF fell 0.06% to 0.9535 while USD/CAD slipped 0.03% to 1.0160 as oil prices rose modestly.

In U.S. economic news, the National Association of Realtors said pending home sales fell 0.4% in February from January, but added the number increased 8.4% on a year-over-year basis. Despite trading lower today in Asia, gold is on track for gain of better than 1.5% this month.

AUD/USD rose 0.05% to 1.0449 after Reserve Bank of Australia said that Australian Private Sector Credit rose to a seasonally adjusted 0.2% last month, matching the January reading. Analysts had expected Australian Private Sector Credit to rise 0.3% last month.

NZD/USD added 0.04% to 0.8373 after Statistics New Zealand said that New Zealand Building Consents rose to a seasonally adjusted 1.9% in February from -0.4% in January. Analysts expected a February increase of 3%.

The U.S. Dollar Index is down 0.04% at 83.36. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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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.

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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