U.S. Dollar Slips, Pound Rises as May Asks for Brexit Extension
The U.S. dollar slipped while the British pound edged up on Wednesday in Asia after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said she would ask the EU for an extension to the Brexit deadline.
The GBP/USD pair edged up 0.2% to 1.3136 by 11:50 PM ET (03:50 GMT).
Worries over a no-deal Brexit eased somewhat after May offered cross-party talks with the leader of opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, to break the Brexit logjam.
May stressed the extension would be "as short as possible," likely before May 22, to avoid the U.K. having to participate in European elections.
Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies slipped 0.2% to 96.768 amid a slowdown in durable goods spending.
Durable goods orders fell for the first time in three months, data on Tuesday showed, adding to signs that the slowdown in the U.S. economy at the end of last year could extend.
The AUD/USD pair rose 0.4% to 0.7097. The Reserve Bank of Australia held interest rates at 1.5% as expected on Tuesday. In a statement, the central bank continued to describe the outlook for household spending as an area of uncertainty for the economy.
Earlier today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that Australia’s retail sales rose by a 0.8% month-on-month in February, the fastest pace since November 2017, easily beating expectations for a smaller increase of 0.3%.
Data also showed that trade surplus increased to an all-time high.
The USD/CNY pair was down 0.2%. A private survey showed that the Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 54.4, the highest since January 2018 and up from February's 51.1, a four-month low.
Meanwhile, the safe-haven Japanese yen fell against the dollar as investor sentiment improved today following reports that China and the U.S. are moving closer to a trade deal.
The USD/JPY pair last traded at 111.48, up 0.2%.