US dollar struggles in Asia after lift from retail sales
The U.S. dollar dipped against the yen and euro Friday after getting a lift from a solid U.S. retail sales report that boosted expectations for a Federal Reserve rate hike as early as next month.
In Tokyo, the greenback changed hands at 124.38 yen, easing from 124.43 yen in U.S. trading, while the euro fell on disappointing growth figures from the EU’s top economies.
The single currency dipped to US$1.1150 from US$1.1152, and 138.63 yen against 138.77 yen, after weak GDP data from France and Germany raised fresh concerns about the bloc’s economic health.
But in the U.S., fresh data Thursday showing retail sales rose 0.6 percent in July from June, above analyst estimates, added to the brightening outlook for the world’s top economy.
The Fed has said improving economic data will be key to determining when it raises rates for the first time in almost a decade, widely expected between September and December.
On Friday, mainland China’s central bank also reassured the markets by setting its rate against the U.S. dollar marginally higher than the previous day’s close after three days of falls.
The move, coupled with comments from bank officials, soothed nervous investors after a surprise devaluation of the yuan on Tuesday and two subsequent cuts roiled financial markets.
“Today’s fixing is in line with what they promised to do, which is to take account (of) the previous day’s close,” Dennis Tan, a currency strategist at Barclays in Singapore, told Bloomberg News.
“It’s quite clear from yesterday’s PBoC press conference that it is not their main intention to depreciate the yuan sharply. They’re OK with a modest depreciation but they don’t want the depreciation to get out of hand.”
But Asia-Pacific currencies fought to sustain a recovery from the worst two-day rout in almost 20 years after over fears of the long-term impact of a fall in the yuan.
The U.S. dollar rose to SG$1.4025 from SG$1.3971 on Thursday, to 46.25 Philippine pesos from 46.18 pesos, to 35.26 Thai baht from 35.18 baht, and to 1,177.32 South Korean won from 1,174.55 won.
The greenback also advanced to 65.14 Indian rupees from 65.11 rupees, while it was flat at 13,766 Indonesian rupiah.
The Australian dollar firmed to 73.72 U.S. cents from 73.60 cents on Thursday, while the yuan fetched 19.43 yen against 19.39 yen.