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Aussie Slips In Asia After Weak Building Approvals

2/1/2018, 10:31:34 AMMarket Analysis
Aussie Slips In Asia After Weak Building Approvals

The Aussie slipped in Asia on Thursday as building approvals came in well below expectations and a private manufacturing survey from China met expectations.

AUD/USD traded at 0.8050, down 0.06%, while USD/JPY changed hands at 109.37, up 0.16%. GBP/USD rose 0.10% to 1.4204 with the market watching calls for Theresa May to be replaced as premier even as she is on a state trip to China.

The Caixin/Markit China manufacturing PMI for January came in at 51.5, meeting an expected steady reading of 51.5 seen on Thursday. On Wednesday, the official manufacturing PMI came in at 51.3, below the 51.5 seen and the 51.6 level in December.

Earlier, Australia reported building approvals slumped 20% in December, compared to a 8.0% drop seen on month.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose 0.01% to 88.96.

The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged at the end of its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, keeping them in a range between 1.25% - 1.50%.

The Federal Reserve signalled that it would push ahead on its monetary policy tightening path as economic activity has been rising at a solid rate, while inflation remained low but is expected to "move up" in the coming months.

"The Committee expects that, with further gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace and labor market conditions will remain strong," The Federal Reserve noted in its monetary policy statement. "Inflation on a 12‑month basis is expected to move up this year and to stabilize around the Committee's 2 percent objective over the medium term."

The somewhat upbeat outlook on inflation comes as data on Monday showed that the Core PCE Price Index, the Fed's preferred measure of inflation, rose 1.5% in December.