The yen gained strongly in Asia on Thursday despite weak core machinery orders as the dollar stayed under pressure on concerns about the expected surge in US government borrowing and a higher than expected January read on consumer prices.
USD/JPY changed hands at 106.65, down 0.33%, while AUD/USD traded at 0.7928, up 0.01%.
Japan reported core machinery orders for December with a slump of 11.9% on month, compared to a 1.9% decline seen and a fall of 5.0% on year, compared to a gain of 2.2% expected. The data will be followed later by industrial production seen up 2.7% on month.
Later, Australia reports jobs data with the employment change seen up by 15,300 workers for a steady unemployment rate of 5.5% and a participation rate down a tick to 65.6%.
China starts the Lunar New Year holidays on Thursday which run through Feb. 21, with other markets in Asia on shorter holidays including Hing Kong for Thursday and Friday and Singapore for Friday and Monday.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was last quoted down 0.77% to 88.91.
Overnight, the dollar traded lower against a basket of major currencies as market participants questioned whether the faster pace of inflation would continue while an “ugly” retail sales report added to downside momentum.
The Labor Department said Wednesday its Consumer Price index rose 0.5% last month after rising 0.2% in December, while year-on-year CPI grew to 1.8% from 1.8% in December.
The Commerce Department, meanwhile, said on Thursday that retail sales fell 0.3% last month, confounding expectations for a 0.2% rise.
After an initial surge higher the dollar retreated sharply as market participants highlighted that a large increase in apparel and medical services prices accounted for the jump in consumer prices and questioned whether these two components would continue to post strong gains in the months ahead.