Trading was subdued in a quiet Asian session. The US dollar index was little changed but the US currency was slightly firmer after a mixed performance last week. Disappointing trade balance data out of Japan weighed on the yen.
Japan’s trade deficit was wider-than-expected in January. The 1.09 trillion-yen deficit was the first in five months and was more than the 629.3 billion expected.
The dollar index traded at 100.94, while a weaker yen helped the dollar recoup earlier losses to reach a session high of 113.17 yen. The greenback will likely remain steady today due to a lack of key US data due to the public holiday in the US for President’s Day. Markets will look to the FOMC minutes on Wednesday for any clues into Fed rate hikes, following hawkish rhetoric from Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony last week.
In other news, the Rightmove house price index for the UK indicated weak growth in February. The pound moved lower against the dollar after the data, to reach a session low at $1.2407.
The euro struggled around the key $1.0600 level as the currency continues to be under pressure on concerns about the upcoming elections in France. The single currency will be in focus today as the Eurogroup meets in Brussels. Greece is high on the agenda but an agreement on the country’s bailout is not expected to be reached today.
In commodities, gold slipped to $1,232.68 an ounce while WTI crude oil was little changed around $53.50 a barrel.
The economic calendar is relatively light today. Focus will be on the Eurogroup meeting. The UK will release CBI industrial order expectations and the Bundesbank will publish its monthly report. Eurozone consumer confidence report is due. Meanwhile, the UK House of Lords will be debating on Brexit today.