Yuan Little Changed Following Weak PMI Data; U.S. Dollar Also Flat
The yuan was little changed on Thursday in Asia following the release of weaker-than-expected Chinese PMI data.
This month’s manufacturing PMI came in at 49.2, down from 49.5 in January, official data showed. The February reading was expected to unchanged from last month.
A reading below 50 means the manufacturing sector contracted, while a PMI above 50 represents an expansion when compared with the previous month.
Meanwhile, the non-manufacturing PMI slowed to 54.3 from January’s 54.7.
The data had a limited impact on the yuan. The USD/CNY pair last traded at 6.6806 by 12:01 AM ET (05:01 GMT), down 0.01%.
The Caixin manufacturing PMI is due on Friday, while ongoing developments surrounding the U.S.-China trade talks are also expected to direct near-term movements.
Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies was little changed at 95.998.
Although not a major directional driver, U.S. Donald Trump’s top trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer dialled back expectations for a sweeping trade deal with China. Lighthizer said "it is too early to predict the outcome” of negotiations between the U.S. and China, as "significant structural changes" were needed to the Chinese economy.
His comments came after U.S. President Donald Trump delayed more tariffs on Chinese goods earlier this week, citing “substantial progress” in the latest round of trade talks that were led by Lighthizer and China Vice Premier Liu He.
Elsewhere, the AUD/USD pair edged up 0.1%. The pair received some support after data showed Australian private capital expenditure (CAPEX) came in above estimates. CAPEX was up a seasonally adjusted 2.0% on quarter in the fourth quarter of 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday. Analysts previously expected the expenditure to rise 1.1% following the 0.5% decline in the three months prior.
The pair later gave back some of its gains following the release of the weaker-than-expected Chinese data.
The USD/JPY pair slipped 0.1% to 110.88.