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The U.S. dollar climbed against the most major currencies due to increasing U.S. treasury yields, amid the release of Federal Reserve's meeting minutes and the speech of Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Market participants are awaiting the Fed's view of the economy. Recently published U.S. economic data was mixed and showed uneven recovery of the U.S. economy.
The euro dropped against the U.S. dollar. Further stimulus measures by European Central Bank and the weak growth figures in the Eurozone weighed on the euro.
The current account surplus in the Eurozone was 18.8 billion euro in March, after a surplus of 21.9 billion euro in February. Analysts had expected an increase to 24.2 billion euro.
The consumer confidence in the Eurozone was -7.1 in May, from a decrease of 8.6 in April. Analysts had expected a decline of 8.0.
The British pound rose against the U.S. dollar after the release of the better-than-expected U.K. retail sales, but later lost a part of its gains. U.K. retail sales increased 1.3% in April, from a 0.1% gain in March. Analysts had expected a 0.4% increase.
On a yearly basis, U.K. retail sales rose 6.9% in April, exceeding expectations for a 5.2% increase. That was the fastest pace since May 2004. U.K. retail sales climbed 4.8% in March.
The retail sales increase was driven by a supermarket price war between Morrisons, Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's. Food sales rose 3.6% in April from March and at annual rate of 6.3%. That was highest annual growth since January 2002.
Bank of England's minutes of its May meeting showed that the Bank of England policymakers voted unanimously to maintain interest rates unchanged at record lows this month. But some policymakers thought the arguments in favour of an interest-rate hike were growing stronger.
The Canadian dollar dropped against the U.S. dollar. No economic data was published in Canada.
The New Zealand dollar traded near 3-week lows against the U.S. dollar. Declining dairy prices and the weak economic data in Australia had a negative impact on the kiwi. Dairy prices at the GlobalDairyTrade auction declined. Market participants speculate that the New Zealand dollar is overvalued as Reserve Bank of New Zealand governor Graeme Wheeler warned this month. No economic data was published in New Zealand.
The Australian dollar decreased against the U.S. dollar after the release of the weak economic data in Australia. The Westpac consumer sentiment in Australia decreased 6.8% in May, after a 0.3% gain in April.
Wage prices in Australia increased 0.7% in the first quarter (Q4 2003: +0.7%). Analysts had expected a 0.8% rise.
The Australian dollar also came under pressure due to the falling iron ore prices. Iron ore is Australia's biggest export (about 20% of all exports).
The Japanese yen hits 3.5-month highs against the U.S. dollar after the Bank of Japan left monetary policy unchanged on Wednesday, but later lost all its gains. The Bank of Japan will continue to increase the monetary base at a pace of ¥60 trillion to ¥70 trillion per year. Japan’s central bank expects a moderate economic recovery.
Japan’s trade deficit was ¥808.9 billion in April, compared to a deficit of ¥1,714.2 billion in March. Analysts had forecasted a deficit of ¥640.0 billion.
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