Investing.com

Investing.com - The dollar was steady to lower against the other major currencies on Friday, after the release of disappointing U.S. economic reports, while concerns over tensions in Ukraine and the outlook for growth in China remained.



The dollar was lower against the euro, with EUR/USD up 0.27% to 1.3906.



In a preliminary report, the University of Michigan said its consumer sentiment index fell to 79.9 this month, from a reading of 81.6 in February, confounding expectations for a rise to 82.0.



The report came after official data showed that U.S. producer price inflation fell 0.1% in February, confounding expectations for a 0.2% rise, after a 0.2% increase the previous month.



Core producer price inflation, which excludes food, energy and trade, slipped 0.2% last month, compared to expectations for a 0.1% rise, after a 0.2% gain in January.



Meanwhile, investors remained cautious after Russia launched new military exercises near its border with Ukraine on Thursday, showing no sign of backing down on plans to annex Crimea.



U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said serious steps would be imposed by the U.S. and Europe if the referendum on Crimea joining Russia takes place on Sunday as planned.



Kerry was set to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Friday in a last attempt to defuse tension between Moscow and the West.



Markets were also jittery after data on Thursday showed that Chinese industrial production rose 8.6% in the first two months of 2014, 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.



The pound was steady against the dollar, with GBP/USD easing 0.06% to 1.6613.

Earlier in the day, official data showed that the U.K. trade deficit widened to £9.79 billion in January, from £7.66 billion in December, whose figure was revised up from a previously estimated deficit of £7.7 billion.



Analysts had expected the trade deficit to widen to £8.60 billion in February.



The dollar was lower against the yen and the Swiss franc, with USD/JPY down 0.55% to 101.24 and with USD/CHF sliding 0.34% to 0.8715.



In Switzerland, official data showed that producer price inflation fell 0.4% last month, compared to expectations for a 0.1% downtick, after a flat reading in January.



Meanwhile, the minutes of the Bank of Japan''s February policy meeting showed that board members agreed that the economy and prices are moving in line with their forecast.



Members also agreed that the sales tax hike next month in Japan will not derail the economy and that risks posed by overseas economies have receded.



The greenback was steady to higher against the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars, with AUD/USD inching 0.05% lower to 0.9027, NZD/USD down 0.06% to 0.8537 and USD/CAD adding 0.19% to 1.1094.



The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.22% to 79.54.





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