Forex - Yen gains slightly after CPI figures come in as expected

Stock Data on Smart Phone - - The yen gained slightly in Asia on Friday after national consumer prices came in as expected and ahead of long holiday weekend coming up in the U.S. with markets shut on Monday for the Memorial Day holiday.

USD/JPY changed hands at 111.99, down 0.04%, while AUD/USD traded at 0.7456, up 0.01%. GBP/USD edged down 0.08% to 1.2932.

In Japan, national consumer prices rose 0.4% as expected for April year-on-year, while national core consumer prices rose a less than expected 0.3%.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was last quoted up 0.20% to 97.14.

Overnight, the dollar traded above break-even Thursday, buoyed by bullish initial jobless claims data, lifting expectations that the economy will rebound in the second-quarter but a widening of the trade balance limited upside momentum.

Investors mulled over a mixed bag of economic data, as initial jobless rose less than expected, offsetting a larger than expected rise in the trade deficit, which helped push the dollar into positive territory.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that initial jobless claims rose by 1,000 to 234,000 in the week ended May 18.

Analysts had expected initial jobless claims to rise by 5,000 to 238,000 for the week ended May 18. The goods trade gap - the difference in value between imported and exported goods - widened to $67.6 billion in April from $65.1 billion in March, the Census Bureau said in its advanced report.

The stronger labor market data came a day after the release of the Federal Reserve's minutes to its May meeting, pushed the dollar to fresh six-month lows, as investors parsed somewhat dovish comments from Fed members concerning future rate hikes.

The minutes revealed that some Fed members said that further signs would need to show that weakness in the first-quarter was temporary, prior to future rate hikes.

Traders' expectations of a June rate hike, however, remained intact - nearly 80% of traders expect the Federal Reserve to hike rates in June, according to's Fed rate monitor tool. 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.

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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