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Dollar Little Changed Ahead Of ECB Meeting

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The dollar is up slightly against its major rivals Wednesday afternoon, but is little changed overall. Investors were pleased with the better than expected private sector employment data this morning, as they await the release of the U.S. jobs report for February on Friday.

Meanwhile, traders are also keeping a close eye on Washington, following the announcement that White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn has resigned. Investors will also be paying close attention to tomorrow's policy statement from the European Central Bank.

A report released by payroll processor ADP on Wednesday showed private sector employment in the U.S. increased by more than expected in the month of February. ADP said employment in the private sector jumped by 235,000 jobs in February after surging up by a revised 244,000 jobs in January.

Economists had expected an increase of about 195,000 jobs compared to the addition of 234,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Reflecting a notable decrease in the value of exports, the Commerce Department released a report on Wednesday showing the U.S. trade deficit widened by more than expected in the month of January. The report said the trade deficit widened to $56.6 billion in January from $53.9 billion in December. The deficit had been expected to widen to $55.1 billion.

Revised data released by the Labor Department on Wednesday showed U.S. labor productivity was unchanged in the fourth quarter.

The Labor Department said labor productivity was unchanged in the fourth quarter compared to the previously reported 0.1 percent drop. Economists had expected the dip in productivity to be unrevised.

Meanwhile, the report said unit labor costs surged up by 2.5 percent compared to the previously reported 2.0 percent jump. The increase in labor costs was expected to be revised to 2.1 percent.

The dollar fell to over a 2-week low of $1.2444 against the Euro Wednesday morning, but has since rebounded to around $1.24.

The euro area economy expanded at a slightly slower pace, as initially estimated, in the fourth quarter, data from Eurostat showed Wednesday. Gross domestic product grew 0.6 percent sequentially, following the 0.7 percent expansion seen in the third quarter.

France's foreign trade gap widened notably at the start of the year, as exports fell and imports rose, Data from customs office showed Wednesday. The trade deficit widened to EUR 5.6 billion in January from EUR 3.4 billion in December. The expected shortfall was EUR 4.45 billion.

The French current account gap widened at the start of the year, data from the Bank of France showed Wednesday. The current account deficit rose to EUR 1.6 billion in January from EUR 0.8 billion in December.

The buck rose to a high of $1.3845 against the pound sterling Wednesday morning, but has since retreated to around $1.3890.

UK house prices grew at the slowest pace in five years in February on squeezed income and uncertainty stemming from Brexit, data from the Lloyds bank subsidiary Halifax and IHS Markit showed Wednesday. House prices increased 1.8 percent year-on-year in the three months to February, slower than the 2.2 percent rise registered in January.

This was the weakest rate since March 2013. Nonetheless, the pace of growth was faster than the expected 1.6 percent.

The greenback slipped to a low of Y105.502 against the Japanese Yen Friday, but has since bounced back to around Y105.900.

Japan's leading index decreased more-than-expected in January to the weakest level in eight months, preliminary figures from the Cabinet Office showed Wednesday.

The leading index, which measures the future economic activity, dropped to 104.8 in January from 106.6 in December, which was revised down from 107.4. Economists had expected the index to fall to 106.1.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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