Dollar perks up, but registers weekly loss

The U.S. dollar edged higher against its major rivals on Friday but remained on track for a weekly decline.

What are currencies doing?

Paring earlier losses, the ICE U.S. Dollar Index
DXY, +0.52%
a measure of the units strength against six currencies, rose 0.6% to 89.104 on Friday. However, the popular dollar gauge is on track to drop 1.4% on the week, its worst and first negative performance since late January, according to FactSet data.

The WSJ U.S. Dollar Index
BUXX, +0.42%
which tracks the buck against 16 main currencies, was up 0.5% at 83.07. On the week, the index has fallen 1.3%.

The greenback reversed its modest climb against the Japanese yen
USDJPY, +0.15%
USDJPY, +0.15%
as it pared some of its overall strength. One dollar last bought 楼106.27, compared with 楼106.12 late Thursday in New York. After hitting a 15-month low of 楼105.55 earlier, it leaves the pair hovering at the lowest level since November of 2016. The yen, considered a haven for investors in times of economic and financial turmoil, has been on the rise since last weeks global stock-market pullback. On the week, the yen has strengthened 2.3% against the dollar, making it the best weekly performance since February 2017, according to FactSet data.

Read: The yen is ignoring Japans apparent efforts to halt its rise

Versus the Swiss franc
USDCHF, +0.5856%
also perceived as a haven asset, the dollar perked up to 0.9276 francs. That compares with 0.9221 francs late Thursday. The dollar has fallen 1.3% against the franc this week.

The British pound
GBPUSD, -0.4752%
meanwhile, slipped to $1.4015 from $1.4100, while the euro
EURUSD, -0.7836%
climbed to $1.2407 from $1.2507, as both suffer from a stronger buck. In the U.K., January retail sales disappointed consensus expectations, which was also weighing on the pound. On the week, both sterling and the euro gained 1.3%.

Against Canadas currency
USDCAD, +0.6170%
one dollar bought C$1.2557, versus C$1.2481 late Thursday, putting the pair down 0.2% on the week.

Whats driving the market?

The dollar has lost ground this week after data showed a drop in U.S. retail sales and industrial production, accompanied by reports showing higher consumer and producer prices.

Rising inflation data lifted expectations for possibly a fourth interest-rate rise in 2018 by the U.S. Federal Reserve, yet that failed to cheer the greenback, as analysts judged the higher inflation and lower retail sales numbers as an indicator of the late-cycle stage of the U.S. economy. Interest-rate hikes tend to strengthen the currency of the country raising rates.

North American trading may also find an earlier end on Friday due to the long Presidents Day weekend, market participants said.

See: Which markets are closed on Presidents Day?

Read: A mixed bag of economic data has been a downer for the U.S. dollar

The yens persistent weakness triggered a comment Friday from the Japanese finance minister. Taro Aso said the exchange-rate stability is important to officials who will take appropriate action at the appropriate time, if needed, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Investors will be waiting to see if new appointments at the Bank of Japan will affect monetary policy. As expected, current Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda was nominated for a second term as head of the central bank.

Kuroda has been in his position since 2013 and has repeatedly said in parliamentary testimony over the past two weeks that the BOJ would pursue powerful easing, which could weigh on yen.

Also read: Heres how a spendthrift U.S. could deal a blow to emerging markets

What strategists are saying?

The dollar has staged an impressive recovery form its early Asian session lows and [entered] the North America session on the offensive with decisive turns against its [peers], wrote Scotiabank strategists Shaun Osborne and Eric Theoret, in a note. Still a full reversal remains less likely and technicals will remain important for the buck.

The longer-term prospects for the dollar are bearish as market participants focus on widening fiscal and current account deficits, however, the near-term path will be determined by the degree to which market participants are willing to add to existing trades, Osborne and Theoret said.

It may be that the market feels the Fed wont be so aggressive this time aroundthat given the trade-off between inflation and growth, they will lean toward supporting growth and therefore wont hike rates as much as they would normally during a period of high inflation, said Marshall Gittler, chief strategist at ACLS Global, in a note to clients.

Or it could be that the market is focusing more on the deterioration in the twin deficits as the government budget deficit expands without end while the non-oil trade deficit hits a record. Either way, sell [the dollar] sentiment seems to be the order of the day, said Gittler, referring to trade over the past week.

Read: Bullish sentiment jumps in latest week alongside recovery in stocks

What are the data?

January housing starts rose to a 1.33 million annual rate, beating expectations of 1.24 million from economists polled by MarketWatch. Building permit for the same month increased to a 1.4 million rate, the highest level since mid-2007, versus 1.3 million previously.

The import price index showed a 1% jump in January, up from 0.1% before.

The University of Michigans consumer-sentiment index for February came in at 99.9, exceeding consensus estimates of 95.3, and the previous level of 95.7.

See: MarketWatchs Economic Calendar

Related Topics Currency Euro Yen Pound U.S. Dollar Federal Reserve

Quote References DXY +0.46 +0.52% BUXX +0.35 +0.42% USDJPY +0.16 +0.15% USDCHF +0.0054 +0.5856% GBPUSD -0.0067 -0.4752% EURUSD -0.0098 -0.7836% USDCAD +0.0077 +0.6170% Show all references
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