Forex – Aussie up on housing, private sector credit, yen retraces gains

May 31, 2016

Forex – Aussie up on housing, private sector credit, yen retraces gains – The Aussie gained Tuesday on better than expected housing and private sector credit figures and the yen retraced earlier gains on household spending, industrial output and unemployment aided sentiment.

USD/JPY changed hands at 111.07, down 0.04%, while AUD/USD traded at 0.7222, up 0.54%.

In Australia, building approvals rose 3.0% for April, well above the expected down 3.0% month-on-month.

The current account for the first quarter reached a deficit of A$20.8 billion, wider than the deficit of A$19.5 billion seen. Also in the line up, private house approvals for April fell 2.3% and private sector credit gained 0.5%, better than the 0.4% gain seen month-on-month.

Earlier in Japan, household spending for April rose 0.2%, better than a 0.6% drop seen month-on-month. As well, the unemployment rate held steady at 3.2% as expected, while provisional industrial production for April rose 0.3%, better than the expected down 1.5% month-on-month.

Fiscal 2016 began with slower-than-expected wage hikes set for workers at major firms, keeping households generally cautious with the latest data suggesting some spending momentum.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.20% to 95.53.

Overnight, the dollar held steady at a two-month peak against the other major currencies on Monday, as comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaling the possibility for upcoming rate hikes continued to support demand for the greenback.

Trade volumes looked likely to remain light on Monday with financial markets in the U.K. shut for a public holiday and U.S. markets closed for Memorial Day.

The greenback strengthened broadly after Fed Chair Yellen said Friday it would be appropriate for the central bank to raise rates “gradually and cautiously” in the coming months if the economy and the labor market continue to pick up as expected.

The U.S. dollar was also boosted after the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Friday that gross domestic product rose at an annualized rate of 0.8% in the three months to March, up from the initial estimate of 0.5%.

Meanwhile, demand for the yen remained under pressure following report Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may delay a planned sales tax increase for a second time, after a similar tax increase in April 2014 derailed an economic recovery.

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