Daily Afternoon Report 15.02.2016

The dollar remained broadly higher against the other major currencies on Monday, as Friday’s upbeat U.S. retail sales data continued to support and as comments by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe weighed on the yen.

Trading volumes were expected to remain quiet on Monday with U.S. markets closed in observance of Presidents’ Day.

USD/JPY climbed 0.79% to 114.11, the highest since February 10.

The Commerce Department said on Friday that retail sales rose 0.2% last month, beating expectations for an increase of 0.1%.

Retail figures used to calculate gross domestic product, which excludes cars, fuel, building materials, and food services, rose 0.6% in January after a 0.3% fall in the previous month.

Meanwhile, the yen weakened after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament that “excessive currency volatility is undesirable,” and said Tokyo will take appropriate action in the exchange rate market as needed.

Separately, data earlier showed that Japan’s gross domestic product contracted by an annualized 1.4% in the three months to December, worse than expectations for a contraction of 1.2%, following a revised 1.3% expansion in the second quarter.

EUR/USD declined 0.68% to trade at 1.1179.

Elsewhere, the dollar was higher against the pound and the Swiss franc, with GBP/USD down 0.28% at 1.4467 and with USD/CHF gaining 0.74% to 0.9848.

Meanwhile, the Australian and New Zealand dollars were stronger, with AUD/USD up 0.65% at 0.7156 and with NZD/USD advancing 0.66% to 0.6667.

Also Monday, data showed that China’s exports fell 11.2% in January from the same month a year earlier, following a drop of 1.4% in December. Economists had forecast a far more modest decline of 1.9%.

Imports dropped 18.8% last month after falling 7.6% in December, compared to expectations for a 0.8% decrease.

USD/CAD slipped 0.17% to trade at 1.3823, as a rebound in oil prices helped the commodity-related Canadian dollar.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.57% at 96.53.