The dollar pushed lower against the other major currencies in quiet trade on Wednesday, as investors continued to lock in profits from the greenback’s recent gains, especially against the yen after Japan warned that it is prepared to intervene in the foreign exchange market.
USD/JPY dropped 0.46% to 108.78, off Tuesday’s highs of 109.36.
The dollar strengthened against the yen in the previous two sessions after Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said Monday that financial authorities are prepared to intervene in the currency market if excessive moves in the yen are enough to affect the country’s economy.
But many investors expect that Japan will refrain from taking step to weaken the yen ahead of a G7 meeting its is hosting later this month, in the absence of support for such a move.
Late last month the U.S. Treasury Department added Japan to a watch list of countries it is monitoring to gauge whether their foreign exchange policies provide an unfair trade advantage.
Aso said Monday the Treasury’s move to put Japan on a watch list “won’t constrain” Tokyo’s currency policy.
EUR/USD gained 0.36% to 1.1413, after hitting one-week lows of 1.1359 on Tuesday.
The dollar was steady against the pound, with GBP/USD at 1.4450 and was lower against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF sliding 0.34% to 0.9726.
Earlier Wednesday, the U.K. Office for National Statistics said that manufacturing production increased by 0.1% in March, worse than expectations for a rise of 0.3% and following a decline of 0.9% a month earlier.
The report also showed that industrial production increased by 0.3%, missing forecasts for a gain of 0.5% and following a decline of 0.2% in the preceding month.
The Australian and New Zealand dollars were stronger, with AUD/USD up 0.19% at 0.7376 and with NZD/USD climbing 0.65% to 0.6807.
Elsewhere, USD/CAD fell 0.24% to 1.2880.
The commodity currencies regained strength as oil prices rebounded on Wednesday, ahead of the weekly report on U.S. stockpiles.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.32% at 93.92.