The US dollar strengthened the most versus the yen in more than a week but traded lower against most of its major counterparts as a report showed US retail sales climbed 1.6 percent in March, more than economists forecast. Sales at US retailers rose more strongly than expected in March as consumers stepped up purchases of vehicles and a wide range of other goods, suggesting a broadening of the manufacturing-led economic recovery.
The euro, one of the currencies regarded as higher risk, rose against the US dollar after Singapore effectively revalued its currency and as upbeat US corporate earnings boosted appetite for risk. The Singapore move was viewed as a mark of confidence in the economic recovery. The single currency, although up on the day, pared gains against the dollar after Moody's ratings agency said there was still a greater than 50 percent chance of a rating cut for debt-stricken Greece in the next 12 to 18 months.
Sterling held steady against the US dollar, consolidating recent gains after recent robust UK data, though still confined by political opinion polls. Tuesday's figures showing Britain's trade deficit narrowed more than expected had supported the pound, together with British Retail Consortium data showing retail sales grew at their fastest pace in a year in March. But with no data releases scheduled for today, the focus is back on the latest opinion polls which have investors fearing a hung government outcome could hinder an incoming government's efforts to reduce the UK's large budget deficit.
The Japanese yen fell against its major counterparts as evidence the global recovery is gaining momentum prompted demand for higher-yielding assets. Expectations of stronger economic growth in Asia have put downward pressure on the yen as investors take on additional risk to benefit from the robust recovery underway in Asia. As world economic data comes in better than expected, investors should continue to sell the yen and start to buy other higher-yielding assets.
The Canadian dollar hit a 22-month high against the US dollar after it broke through a key barrier level. Expectations for a stronger-than-expected reading of Chinese first-quarter GDP also helped commodity currencies, which include the Canadian dollar.
The Australian dollar strengthened against the US dollar and leapt against the New Zealand dollar after disappointing New Zealand retail sales fed talk that New Zealand interest rates may stay at record lows beyond June. Data showed NZ retail sales fell the most in seven months in February, led by lower sales in department stores, appliances, and supermarkets. In contrast, underscoring Australia's economic resilience, a key measure of consumer confidence showed Australian consumers took rate rises well in their stride.
10-Year Treasury Note Yield: 3.830%
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 11,069.00 + 50.18
This market summary is prepared by Union Bank's Global FX Department for the general information of its customers. It is based on the most accurate information currently available, but should not be considered investment advice or a guarantee of future exchange rates or trends.