Data Gives Dollar Short-lived Support

The US Dollar Index was steady at 97.4040 .DXY after striking a 2½ week peak in the overnight hours. Earlier, the greenback was helped along by the latest US data released on Thursday which showed an economy that appeared sturdy. Retail sales improved in March on a month-over-month basis; consumer spending is a key driver of the US economy and that news was more than welcome. Meanwhile US unemployment claims data was better than expected. Markit's surveys of the US economy were weaker than expected, however; though the readings were preliminary, the manufacturing sector was flat at 52.4 against an expected reading of 52.8, while the services sector reading fell considerably to 52.9 against a forecast of 55.0.

As reported at 11:49 am (JST) in Tokyo, the USD/JPY was trading lower at 111.9260 Pence, down 0.0473%; the pair has ranged from 111.896 Pence at the low end to 112.008 Pence at the high end in the session. The AUD/USD was lower, trading at $0.7148, down 0.0084% and moving off the session low of $0.71436. The NZD/USD was higher at $0.6684, a gain of 0.913%; the pair has ranged from a low of $0.66785 to a peak of $0.66900.

Strong UK Data Boosts Pound

In the UK, retail sales were also improved for March, with the National Statistics Office reporting retail sales at 1.1%, above the -0.3% that economists had predicted. Retail sales excluding fuel were also higher in March at 1.2%, with a similar -0.3% predicted. With the Brexit noise diminished in the short term, sentiment was improved for the Pound; currently, the GBP/USD is trading at $1.299, up 0.03% and moving off the session trough of $1.2986.

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.