Dollar index slips to 1-week low in quiet trade

Investing.com –

Investing.com – The dollar slipped to a one-week low against the other major currencies on Friday, as recent downbeat U.S. data continued to weigh and as trading volumes were expected to remain light with U.S. markets closed for the Presidents’ Day Holiday.

Sentiment on the dollar remained vulnerable after data on Friday showed that the preliminary reading of the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index fell to 93.6, down from January’s final reading of 98.1. Economists had forecast an unchanged figure.

The report came a day after data showing that U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell 0.8% last month after dropping 0.9% in December, indicating that consumer spending remained sluggish at the start of the year.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.10% to 94.15.

EUR/USD edged up 0.22% to 1.1416.

Investors remained cautious as officials from Greece and the European Union were due to hold fresh talks on Monday after a meeting on a new debt deal last week ended without an agreement.

Greece’s current €240 billion bailout is due to expire on February 28 and the new Greek government does not want it extended, fuelling fears over a conflict with its creditors which could trigger the country’s exit from the euro zone.

Earlier Friday, official data showed that the euro zone’s trade surplus widened to €24.3 billion in December from €21.2 billion in November, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated surplus of €20.0 billion.

Analysts had expected the trade surplus to hit €20.5 billion in December.

The pound edged lower against the dollar, with GBP/USD slipping 0.13% to 1.5374.

Elsewhere, USD/JPY fell 0.10% to trade at 118.62, while USD/CHF edged down 0.19% to 0.9300.

In Japan, data earlier showed that the economy returned to growth in the final quarter of 2014, but growth was still weaker than expected, indicating that the recovery remains fragile.

Japan’s gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 2.2% in the three months to December official data showed, falling short of forecasts for 3.7%.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were higher, with AUD/USD rising 0.25% to 0.7777 and NZD/USD gaining 0.78% to 0.7512.

The kiwi was boosted after official data showed that retail sales rose rose 1.7% in the fourth quarter of 2014, beating expectations for an increase of 1.3%, after a 1.6% gain in the previous quarter.

Core retail sales, which exclude automobiles and gas stations, rose 1.5% in the last quarter, exceeding expectations for a 1.1% gain and after a 1.5% increase in the three months to September.

Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar slipped lower, with USD/CAD up 0.11% at 1.2461.

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