Daily Afternoon Report 30.12.2015

The dollar held gains against the other major currencies on Wednesday, as trading volumes remained light after Christmas and ahead of the New Year holiday.

Heading into the final week of the year, trading volumes are expected to remain light as many traders already closed books, reducing liquidity in the market which could result in exaggerated moves.

USD/JPY held steady at 120.51.

The dollar strengthened after the Conference Board reported on Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 96.5 in December from 92.6 in November, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated 90.4.

Analysts had expected the index to rise to 93.8 this month.

Separately, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Anaysis said the goods trade deficit widened to $60.50 billion last month from $58.41 billion in October. Analysts had expected the trade deficit to widen to $60.90 billion in November.

The data came after mixed U.S. economic reports released last week failed to offer clues as to how fast the U.S. central bank will raise interest rates next year.

With the first U.S. rate hike since 2006 out of the way, investors are now focusing on the pace of future rate increases.

EUR/USD was almost unchanged at 1.0925.

Earlier Wednesday, preliminary data showed that Spain’s consumer price index fell 0.3% this month, compared to expectations for a 0.1% downtick, after a 0.4% rise the previous month.

Elsewhere, the dollar edged higher against the pound, with GBP/USD up 0.11% at 1.4804 but lower against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF down 0.28% at 0.9901.

In the U.K., the Nationwide Building Society said home prices rose 0.8% in December, exceeding expectations for a 0.5% gain and after an uptick of 0.1% the previous month.

The Australian dollar was steady, with AUD/USD at 0.7291, while NZD/USD slid 0.27% to 0.6849.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD rose 0.30% to trade at 1.3882.

The commodity-related loonie came under pressure as oil prices moved back lower amid ongoing concerns over a global supply glut and the lack of demand.

Crude oil futures for February delivery were down 2.55% at $36.92 in European afternoon trade, re-approaching the 11-year low of $35.98 hit on December 22.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.15% at 98.38.