The dollar extended its recent gains versus the yen but struggled in quiet trade against its European counterparts Friday. Activity was light, with many markets around the world closed Friday.
Still, there was some first-tier economic data from the US for those at their desks to consider.
Activity in the manufacturing sector continued to contract in the month of April, according to a report released by the Institute for Supply Management on Friday, although the pace of contraction slowed by more than economists had expected.
The ISM said its index of activity in the sector rose to 40.1 in April from 36.3 in March, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction in the sector. Economists had been expecting a more modest increase to a reading of 38.4.
U.S. factories received fewer orders in March, according to government data released Friday. Still, there were some positive signs for the sector. Inventories continued to decline, indicating that companies are working through their excess stockpiles.
The dollar extended this week's dramatic comeback versus the yen Friday, rising to a nearly 2-week high of 99.56 before leveling off. With the advance, the dollar moved closer to 3-month high of 101.43, set in early April.
The yen was down against most majors, a sign that risk appetite is on the rise.
Japanese core inflation eased 0.1 percent on year in March, the Cabinet Office said on Friday, marking the first annual decline since September 2007.
The dollar was little changed on the day versus the euro, slipping to 1.3300 before finding a holding pattern by mid-day. Earlier in the week, the dollar slid to a 2-week low of 1.3385, a full 10 cents from its multi-year highs set last autumn during the darkest days of the financial crisis.
Against the sterling, the dollar tested its 2-week lows from the previous session, slipping a penny to 1.4900. A move to 1.4950 would bring the dollar to its lowest level since mid-April.
Indicating that the pace of decline in the UK's manufacturing sector eased in April, the CIPS/Markit purchasing managers' index, or PMI, climbed to 49.2 from a revised 39.5 in March, reports said Friday, citing data from the Markit Economics. Meanwhile, economists had expected a reading of 40.
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