Investing.com

Investing.com - The Australian dollar gained after higher than expected trade price index data while the yen also edged stronger in a think holiday session.



AUD/USD traded at 0.9292, up 0.04%, while USD/JPY held at 102.19, down 0.05%.



Markets in Japan, Australia and New Zealand are open Thursday and China, while closed, still released the CFLP manufacturing PMI for April showing a slight uptick to 50.4, just below an expectation of 50.5, and higher than the 50.3 reported last month.



In Australia AI Group said its manufacturing index for April contracted 3.1 points to 44.8, the sharpest drop since July 2013, indicating the sensitivity of the sector to the Australian dollar. The exchange rate is still trading close to the highs of 2014, despite markets cutting their bets on a Reserve Bank cash rate hike this year after lower-than-expected first quarter inflation.



Australia''s Q1 import and export price indexes rose 3.2% quarter-on-quarter for imports, compared to an expectation of a 1.8% gain, and exports rose 3.6%, compared to an expected increase of 1.5%.



The RBA''s commodity price index is due at 1630 (0630 GMT), which was last down 2.0% month-on-month.



Overnight, the dollar traded lower against most major currencies even after the Federal Reserve announced plans to trim is monthly bond-buying program by $10 billion, as the monetary authority stressed that benchmark interest rates will remain low for a "considerable" period of time.



The Fed said earlier it was leaving interest rates unchanged at 0.00%-0.25% though it did cut its monthly bond-buying program to $45 billion from $55 billion, citing economy recovery that should gain steam as it brushes off the fallout from rough winter weather.



"Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in March indicates that growth in economic activity has picked up recently, after having slowed sharply during the winter in part because of adverse weather conditions. Labor market indicators were mixed but on balance showed further improvement," the Fed said in its statement.



Fed asset purchases aim to spur recovery by suppressing long-term borrowing costs, which weakens the dollar.



Still, once the Fed does conclude the stimulus program, benchmark interest rates should remain at rock-bottom levels for a while, language that prevented the dollar from applauding the decision to trim its stimulus program by $10 billion a month.



Elsewhere, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported earlier that U.S. gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 0.1% in the first quarter, far shy of expectations for a 1.2% growth rate, though rough winter weather played a factor. The U.S. economy expanded by 2.6% in the previous quarter.



Separately, payroll processing firm ADP said non-farm private employment rose by 220,000 this month, above expectations for an increase of 210,000. March’s figure was revised up to a gain of 209,000 from a previously reported increase of 191,000.



Data also showed that the Chicago purchasing managers’ index rose to 63.0 this month from a reading of 55.9 in March. Analysts had expected the index to improve to 56.7 in April.



The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, fell 0.03% at 79.55.



On Thursday, the U.S. is to publish the weekly report on initial jobless claims. At the same time, Fed Chair Janet Yellen is to speak at an event in Washington; her comments will be closely watched.



Later Thursday, the Institute of Supply Management is to release a report on manufacturing activity.



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