TOKYO: – The dollar rose against other currencies in Asia on Friday as a strong US retail sales report reinforced investor confidence in the world’s largest economy.
The dollar was at 119.08 yen in midday trade compared with 118.65 yen in New York and sharply higher than the 117.67 yen touched earlier Thursday in Tokyo.
“The strong US retail sales report for November, together with the market reflecting perhaps on the boost to US consumer purchasing power from lower gasoline prices, lifted equities and the dollar,” said National Australia Bank.
The Commerce Department said US retail sales in November, the beginning of the holiday shopping season, added a solid 0.7 percent from the previous month and 5.1 percent from a year ago.
Consumer spending accounts for almost three quarters of output in the world’s biggest economy and the figures are the latest to indicate a strong recovery is on track, adding to pressure on the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates sooner than later.
The euro was mixed after losing ground in reaction to the disappointing sale of new loans by the European Central Bank (ECB) to banks on Thursday.
The single currency slipped to $1.2395 Friday from $1.2410 in US trade while firming to 147.58 yen from 147.24 yen.
The ECB’s loan sale was “no blockbuster, not that anyone expected it”, NAB said in a note.
“The outcome was in line with already-low expectations, a stark contrast to the rip-roaring US economy that posted a strong retail sales report for November” even with the deflating effect from lower gas prices, it said.
The ECB said 306 banks had borrowed a slack 129.8 billion euros in the second round of its programme of cheap, long-term loans aimed at boosting the economy.
The result raised the prospects the ECB will launch more aggressive easing early next year.