Friday, February 19, 2016

Forex - Yen slightly weaker in light Asian data day - - The yen was a tad weaker in Asia on Friday with a relatively light data day in the region.

USD/JPY changed hands at 113.28, up 0.02%, while AUD/USD traded at 0.7150, down 0.10%.

The Reuters Tankan Index for February came in at 7 from 6 in the previous month.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, fell 0.04% to 96.84.

Overnight, the dollar pushed moderately higher against the other major currencies on Thursday, as the release of upbeat U.S. economic reports continued to support despite uncertainty over whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year.

The U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending February 13 decreased by 7,000 to a 12-week low of 262,000 from the previous week's total of 269,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to rise by 6,000 to 275,000 last week.

In addition, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that its manufacturing index improved to -2.8 this month from January's reading of -3.5. Analysts had expected the index to hit -3.0 in February.

The greenback had weakened mildly after Fed policymakers said, in the minutes of the bank's January policy meeting released on Wednesday, that tighter global financial conditions could weigh on the U.S. economy and considered changing their planned path of interest rate hikes in 2016.

Separately, sentiment weakened after the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development cut its global growth forecast for this year and warned that some emerging markets are at risk of exchange-rate volatility.

The OECD said global gross domestic product will expand 3.0% in 2016, down from November's prediction of 3.3%.
The minutes of the European Central Bank's January meeting signaled that the bank will have wide support to inject further monetary easing next month if necessary.

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