Dollar slips, yen steady after Japanese finance minister comments

The dollar index briefly pared losses after data on Tuesday showed that orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods increased more than expected in February, while business investment on equipment appeared to improve in the first quarter.

“The market is intensely searching for signs of cracks in the U.S. economy and they’re hard to find, and durable goods illustrates that again today,” said Adam Button, chief currency analyst at ForexLive in Toronto. “It’s a real wait and see market.”

Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) due on Friday is this week’s main economic catalyst. The U.S. core PCE price index is seen rising 0.3% in February, which would keep the annual pace at 2.8%.

Trading volumes on Friday may be light, however, with the U.S. stock and Treasuries markets closed for the Good Friday holiday.

The dollar index was last down 0.08% at 104.14, while the euro gained 0.12% to $1.0849.

The greenback may come under some pressure this week from month- and quarter-end portfolio rebalancing.

The yen was little changed on the day at 151.41 as verbal intervention by Japanese officials continued. It has weakened in the past week, despite the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) ending eight years of negative interest rates.

Traders continue to focus on the still-stark interest rate differentials between Japan and the rest of the world, particularly the United States. A break past 151.94 per dollar, hit in October 2022, would take the Japanese currency to its weakest since 1990.

In 2022, Japanese authorities intervened in currency markets to support the yen.

Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said on Tuesday that “rapid currency moves are undesirable.” That came after Japan’s top currency diplomat Masato Kanda on Monday warned against speculators trying to sell off the yen.

“Dollar/yen is stuck around this 151.50 level. People want to go long/dollar yen because of carry returns, but if it goes to 152 or 153 they may get punished by the currency authorities so they don’t want to try,” said Yusuke Miyairi, currency strategist at Nomura.

The carry trade sees investors borrow in low yielding currencies to invest in higher yielding ones.

China’s yuan, which has also been on traders’ radars especially since its sudden sharp fall on Friday, gained slightly in the offshore market to 7.2492 per dollar after a firmer-than-expected fix from the People’s Bank of China.

(Reporting By Karen Brettell; Additional reporting by Rae Wee and Alun John; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Disclaimer: This report is auto generated from the Reuters news service. ThePrint holds no responsibilty for its content.

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