The yen gained further in Asia on Friday in a light regional data day and after Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda defended negative interest rates as aiding underlying price trends.
In New Zealand, first quarter core retail sales rose 1.0% quarter-on-quarter, a tad below the 1.1% gain seen.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.03% to 94.14.
Overnight, the dollar trimmed gains against the other major currencies on Thursday, after data showed that U.S. jobless claims rose unexpectedly last week, fuelling concerns over the strength of the job market.
The U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending May 6 increased by 20,000 to 294,000 from the previous week’s total of 274,000. Analysts had expected jobless claims to drop by 4,000 to 270,000 last week.
Meanwhile, sentiment on the yen remained fragile since Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on 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.
However, Kuroda said earlier Thursday that it would be difficult for Japan’s finance ministry to intentionally weaken the yen to boost exports.