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The U.S. dollar traded mixed against the most major. The U.S. currency was supported by the speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said that Russia is ready to discuss a way out of the Ukrainian crisis with the head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. But the Fed Chair Janet Yellen’ s speech to Congress’ Joint Economic Committee put under pressure the U.S. dollar. Janet Yellen said that the economy will grow faster in 2014, but the Fed will keep interest rates at their historically low levels after the central bank closes out its bond purchasing program.
In addition, U.S. nonfarm productivity fell 1.7% in the first quarter from a 1.8% increase in the previous quarter. Analysts had expected a 0.5% decrease. U.S. unit labour costs climbed 4.2% in the first quarter from a 0.1% decrease in the previous quarter. Analysts had forecasted a 2.3% rise.
The euro traded little changed against the U.S. dollar despite the disappointing economic data from Germany and France. German factory orders declined 2.8% in March from an increase of 0.9% in February. February’s figure was revised up from 0.6%. Analysts had forecasted a 0.5% rise. French industrial production decreased 0.7% in March from an increase of 0.1% in February. Analysts had expected a 0.4% increase.
The Swiss franc traded lower against the U.S. dollar. Market participants remained unimpressed by the rise of the central bank’s foreign currency reserves. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) had released that the foreign currency reserves climbed to 438.9 billion Swiss francs in April from 437.9 billion Swiss francs in March. This figure shows the SNB had not bought euros to defend EUR/CHF 1.20 exchange rate floor.
The British pound traded lower against the U.S. dollar. No economic data was published in Great Britain.
The Canadian dollar traded mixed against the U.S. dollar. The Canadian currency declined after the release of new building permits. Building permits in Canada declined 3.0% in March (February: -11.6%). Analysts had expected a 4.3% increase. Later, the Canadian dollar recovered its losses after the Fed Chair Janet Yellen’ s speech to Congress’ Joint Economic Committee.
The New Zealand dollar dropped against the U.S. dollar after the speech of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) Governor Graeme Wheeler. He said the New Zealand remains strong and the central bank could intervene to lower the domestic currency.
New Zealand's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.0% in the first quarter. Analysts had forecasted the decrease to 5.8%.
The number of employed people in New Zealand climbed 0.9% in the first quarter (4. quarter 2013: +1.0% (revised down from 1.1%). The projected figure was an increase of 0.7%.
The Australian dollar traded mixed against the U.S. dollar. Retail sales in Australia increased 0.1% in March. February’s figure was revised up to 0.3% from 0.2%. Analysts had expected an increase of 0.4%.
The Japanese yen traded mixed against the U.S.
dollar. The Bank of Japan released the monetary policy meeting minutes. Most
members of the central agreed to keep easing monetary policy until inflation
target of 2% is reached.
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