Forex - Aussie gains on solid retail sales, trade data, yen down a tad

Posted on at - The Australian dollar gained on Thursday after better than expected retail sales and trade data for October.

AUD/USD traded at 0.8416, up 0.15%, after the data, while USD/JPY changed hands at 119.84, up 0.04%.

Australia's October retail sales rose 0.4% month-on-month, beating expectations of a 0.1% increase, while the trade balance for the same month showed a deficit of A$1.3 billion, narrower than the A$1.81 billion expected and well below an A$2.3 billion deficit in September.

In Japan, BoJ board member Takehiro Sato is due to give a speech in Kochi City at 1030 (0130 GMT). Sato will hold a news conference from 1400 to 1430 (0500-0530 GMT). Sato is one of the four board members opposed to expanding the bank's aggressive easing at its Oct. 31 policy meeting.

Overnight, the dollar firmed against most major currencies on Wednesday after a widely-watched U.S. service-sector report beat expectations, which stoked hopes that the economy continues to pick up its pace of recovery.

The Institute of Supply Management reported earlier said that its non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index rose to 59.3 in November from 57.1 in October.

Analysts had expected the index to inch up to 57.5 in November, and the better-than-expected report kept expectations firm that the Federal Reserve will move to hike interest rates next year.

The data came after payroll processor ADP reported that the U.S. private sector created 208,000 jobs in November, falling short of expectations for jobs growth of 223,000 and down from 233,000 in October.

Still, the number topped 200,000, which allayed fears that Friday's official November jobs report may indicate that the labor market may be softening.

Meanwhile across the Atlantic, Markit Economics reported that its euro zone composite PMI, which covers both the manufacturing and service sectors across the currency bloc, fell to 51.1 last month from 51.4 in October, missing market calls for an unchanged reading.

Also in the euro zone, retail sales rose less than expected in October, underlining concerns over the region’s economic outlook, official data showed on Wednesday.

In a report, Eurostat said retail sales increased by a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in October, missing forecasts for a gain of 0.6%.

Retail sales fell by 1.2% in September, whose figure was revised from a previously reported drop of 1.3%.

Year-over-year, retail sales in the euro zone increased 1.4% in October from a year earlier, beating expectations for a 1.2% gain and after rising 0.5% in September.

The overall weak data added to pressure on the European Central Bank to step up measures to spur growth and combat persistently low levels of inflation in the region ahead of its monetary policy meeting on Thursday.

The US dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.03% at 88.97.

On Thursday, the U.S. is to release the weekly report on initial jobless claims.

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