Investing.com - The dollar fell to one week lows against the yen on Thursday as lackluster data from China fuelled risk aversion, while the Australian and New Zealand dollars rallied following better than forecast Australian jobs data and a rate hike from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
USD/JPY hit lows of 102.42 and was last down 0.27% to 102.50.
Demand for the safe haven yen was boosted after weaker-than-expected data from China pointed to a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy at the start of the year.
Chinese industrial production rose 8.6% in the first two months of 2014, according to data released on Thursday, missing market expectations for an increase of 9.5%, while Chinese retail sales rose by a smaller than forecast 11.8% in the same period.
Lingering concerns over the standoff between Russian and the West over the crisis in Ukraine also sapped risk appetite.
USD/CHF was down 0.36% to 0.8706, the weakest level since October 31 2011.
The euro rose to a fresh two-and-a-half year high against the dollar on Thursday, as the common currency continued to gain momentum following last week’s decision by the European Central Bank to refrain from implementing policy measures to spur growth in the euro area, despite forecasting low inflation for some years to come.
EUR/USD hit 1.3956, the highest since October 31 2011 and was last up 0.33% to 1.3949.
Speaking Wednesday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble said interest rates in the euro zone are too low from a German point of view. He also said he doesn’t expect deflation to materialize in the euro zone.
Elsewhere, the dollar was lower against the pound, with GBP/USD rising 0.25% to 1.6662.
The New Zealand dollar surged to 10-month highs, with NZD/USD advancing 0.47% to 0.8563 after the RBNZ raised its benchmark interest rate to 2.75% from a record low 2.5%, becoming the first developed nation to exit record-low borrowing costs.
The central bank also raised its growth forecast to 3.3% in the year ending March 31, faster than the 2.7% pace projected in December.
Meanwhile, AUD/USD surged 0.85% to 0.9063 after the statistics bureau reported that the economy added 47,300 jobs in February, well above forecasts for jobs growth of 18,000. The nation’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.0%.
The U.S. dollar was also weaker against the Canadian dollar, with USD/CAD down 0.49% to 1.1064.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.32% to 79.44.
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