The Japanese currency lost ground across the board on Tuesday morning in New York. The yen plummeted to a 22-day low against the US dollar and a 4-day low against the euro, franc, pound, aussie and the kiwi.
The yen has been in a downward channel after the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said today that Japan's jobless rate rose to a 3-year high in March. According to the report, Japan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 4.4 percent in February, the highest since January 2006 and marking the fourth straight month of increase. February's 4.4% rate was up 0.3 percentage point from January and slightly above the market forecast of 4.3 percent.
The yen dropped to 99.18 against the US dollar by 11:40 am ET, the highest mark since March 9. On the downside, the yen may likely target the 99.8 level. The greenback-yen pair that closed yesterday's deals at 97.27 is currently trading at 99.18.
In economic news from the U.S., the Standard and Poor's report showed that the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index for January fell 19.0 percent compared to the same month a year ago.
At the same time, the index of activity in the Chicago-area manufacturing sector fell to 31.4 in March from 34.2 in February, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction in the sector. Economists had been expecting the index to edge up to a reading of 34.3.
Meanwhile, the Conference Board's consumer confidence index edged up to 26.0 in March from 25.3 in February. Economists had been expecting a somewhat more significant increase by the index to a reading of 28.0.
Against its European majors also, the yen showed weakness in early New York trading today. The yen plummeted to a 4-day low of 131.73 against the euro, 87.24 versus the Swiss franc and 142.31 against the pound by 11:40 am ET and is currently trading at 131.47, 87.03 and 141.8, respectively.
Traders weighed a report from the Switzerland showing the Swiss UBS consumption indicator dropped to 0.89 in February from 0.92 last month.
The Euro-zone March CPI, Italian January retail sales and the German March unemployment rate, which were released today likely influenced the European currency.
According to a flash estimate from the Eurostat, Euro zone annual inflation slowed to 0.6% in March from 1.2% in February.
The Italian statistical office ISTAT said retail sales rose 0.7% year-on-year in January, while economists anticipated 2% fall. Month-on-month, sales were up 0.3% in January compared to a fall of 0.2% expected by economists.
A report from the German Federal Labor Agency showed that seasonally adjusted unemployed rose 69,000 in March, bigger than 50,000 increased in February. Economists had expected a relatively small increase of 52,000. Meanwhile, the jobless rate rose to 8.1%, while economists had forecast the rate to remain at February's revised 8%.
The pound rose in Asian deals today after a report showed that the consumer confidence in Great Britain improved more than the analyst's expectations. The consumer confidence index came in at -30 versus analyst expectations for a score of -37 following the -35 reading in February.
The Japanese yen plunged to a 4-day low of 56.64 against the New Zealand dollar and 68.96 versus the Australian dollar by 11:35 am ET. This may be compared to yesterday's closing values of 54.85 and 66.31, respectively. As of now, the yen is worth near 56.5 against the kiwi and 68.7 versus the aussie.
Against the Canadian dollar, the yen eased to near 79 by 11:40 am ET after a report showed that the Canadian economy shrank 0.7 percent in January. The loonie-yen pair was worth 77.08 at Monday's North American close.
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