Aussie Dollar Climbs on Strong Retail Sales Data, U.S. Dollar Slips
The Australian dollar climbed on Friday in Asia after data of the country’s retail sales for November came in better than expected.
Sales rose 0.4% month-on-month, up from the 0.3% growth in October and above analysts’ estimates of a 0.3% gain.
Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar slipped after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated that the central bank could afford to be patient on monetary policy.
Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida echoed his comment on Thursday.
"We can afford to be patient about assessing how to adjust our policy stance," he said. This is in part because "we begin the year as close to our assigned objectives as we have in a very long time," he added.
The U.S. dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies last traded at 94.933 by 12:13 AM ET (05:13 GMT), down 0.2%.
"The market has almost priced in that the Fed will not be hiking rates any further. To get the dollar weaker, market now has to expect a rate cut...I don't see that happening," said Sim Moh Siong, currency strategist at Bank of Singapore.
The USD/CNY pair was down 0.6% at 6.7460 as the People's Bank of China (PBOC) set the yuan reference rate at 6.7909 vs the previous day's fix of 6.8160.
The Sino-U.S. trade dispute remains in focus after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He may visit Washington later in January.
"The current intent is that the Vice Premier Liu He will most likely come and visit us later in the month and I would expect the government shutdown would have no impact," said Mnuchin.
Beijing and Washington concluded the latest round of trade talks on Wednesday. China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement that discussions with the U.S. were “extensive and detailed,” and that both sides agreed to continue to keep in close contact.
Elsewhere, the USD/JPY pair slipped 0.1% to 108.29.