Dollar Higher on Trade Talk Hopes

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The US Dollar gained some support against the Japanese Yen during Friday trade in Asia on renewed optimism that the trade talks between the US and China are exhibiting signs of progress. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal had reported that Steve Mnuchin, the Secretary of the Treasury, was considering lowering Chinese import tariffs; that news, which was subsequently rebuked by a spokesman from the Treasury Department, helped to improve sentiment nonetheless. Later this month, China's Vice Premier will be visiting the US to continue the discussion with US counterparts with a goal to resolving some of the long-standing trade issues.

As reported at 10;32 am (JST) in Tokyo, the USD/JPY was trading at 109.3340 Yen, a gain of 0.1236%; the pair is off the session peak of 109.398 Yen, while the low stands at 109.060 Yen. The AUD/USD was higher at $0.72, up 0.16%; the pair has ranged from a low of 0.71681 Yen to a high of 0.72053 Yen in today's trading day. The NZD/USD is up at $0.6767, a rise of 0.20%, and off the session high of $0.67747.

Fundamental Events Ahead

Ahead in the trading day, markets will look for any news coming from the G20 economic summit in Osaka, Japan. Given the continuing differences of opinion between the US and China as regards trade, analysts will be watching for any positive news to come out of the meeting. Also ahead in the trading day is the release of industrial production and capacity utilization figures in December from Japan. That will be followed by the release of GDP figures from the UK which are expected to be flat on an annualized basis and show a marked decline on a monthly basis. Figures on US industrial production and capacity utilization will also be coming out late on Friday.

Barbara Zigah is a freelance journalist living in Ghana, who specializes in Forex-related content; her online work has appeared in the IB Times, NASDAQ, Benzinga, and Seeking Alpha.