The yen continued to weaken against the US dollar on Thursday, losing 0.1 percent in Asian trading. USDJPY moved further off an 18-month low to trade at 107.10 yen.
The dollar index, a measure of the US currency against a basket of major currencies, was 0.1 per cent stronger at 93.25 on Thursday. The dollar managed to withstand disappointing US jobs from Wednesday as the ADP private payrolls report came in below expectations in April. This should be a concern ahead of key non-farm payrolls data due on Friday. However, the ISM non-manufacturing PMI – a reading on activity in the services sector- showed growth quickened last month.
With the Federal Reserve deciding to keep interest rates on hold this month, the April jobs data will influence expectations of whether the central bank may pull the trigger in June.
Gold, which is sensitive to US interest rate expectations, was 0.1 per cent higher this morning at $1,280.97 an ounce, but has softened this week since crossing above $1,300 an ounce on Monday for the first time since January 2015.
The Australian dollar, up 0.5 per cent at $0.7492 after some better-than-expected economic data for March, including a solid rebound in new home sales, slightly stronger than expected retail sales and an improvement in the trade deficit. This helped the aussie shrug off some disappointing data out of China – which is Australia’s major trading partner.
Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, was up 1.8 per cent at $45.44 a barrel on Thursday, while West Texas Intermediate, the US marker, was 2.2 per cent higher at $44.74.