The New Zealand and Australian dollars rose against their U.S. counterpart on Thursday, after the release of upbeat New Zealand inflation data and as geopolitical tensions around the world dampened demand for the greenback.
Earlier Thursday, Statistics New Zealand said the consumer price index increased by 1.0% in the first quarter, beating expectations for a 0.8% rise and after a 0.4% gain in the three months to December.
Year-on-year, consumer prices advanced 2.2% in the last quarter, exceeding expectations for an increase of 2.0%.
Meanwhile, sentiment on the greenback remained vulnerable after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday that the U.S. was looking at ways to pressure North Korea over its nuclear program.
The comments came after North Korean state media warned the Americans of a “super-mighty preemptive strike” and said don’t “mess with us.”
Separately, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, who heads Japan for a newly-created bilateral economic dialogue with the U.S., said on Wednesday that Japan has less room to compromise with Washington under a bilateral trade deal.
Investors also remained cautious amid doubts whether President Donald Trump will be able to pass fiscal or tax reforms in the near future.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.13% at 99.58, not far from Tuesday’s three-week low of 99.36.
Centrist Emmanuel Macron held on to his lead as favorite to emerge as the eventual victor, a closely watched poll showed, although it indicated that the outcome of the first round of voting on Sunday was too close to call.
Millions of French voters remain undecided, making this the least predictable vote in France in decades, and raising fears of a potential surprise result that could spread turmoil in markets.