Investing.com – AUD/USD fell slightly during Asian trading hours on Wednesday ahead of Australia’s construction work done for the fourth quarter, with economists expecting a marginal increase and on continued concerns over an economic slowdown in China, its biggest trading partner.
Australia''s construction work done for fourth quarter is due at 1130 Sydney (0030 GMT). The data is expected to show a 0.7% QoQ rise, against a 2.7% increase in third quarter.
Bank of Japan board member Koji Ishida, will speak to business leaders in Saitama City, from 1030 to 1200 local time (0130-0300 GMT) and hold a news conference from 1430 to 1500 (0530-0600 GMT). His speech will be released around 1110 (0210 GMT).
In early Asian trade, USD/JPY fell 0.09% to 102.14, AUD/USD declined 0.11% to 0.9009 while NZD/USD eased 0.02% to 0.8327.
Overnight the dollar edged lower against most major currencies after a widely-watched barometer of consumer confidence missed expectations and renewed sentiments for the Federal Reserve to very gradually taper monetary stimulus tools.
Stimulus programs such as the Fed''s $65 billion in monthly bond purchases tend to weaken the dollar by driving down interest rates, which bolsters gold''s appeal as a hedge. The dollar softened after the Conference Board reported that its consumer confidence index slipped to 78.1 in February from 79.4 in January, mainly due to concerns over general business conditions, jobs, and earnings.
Analysts were expecting the index to tick up to 80.0.
The present situation index rose to its highest level in almost six years, but the expectations index declined, indicating that while consumers believe the economy has improved they do not foresee further considerable improvement in the coming months.
Also on Tuesday, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller house price index rose 13.4% in December from a year earlier, the best December reading in eight years and slightly ahead of forecasts for a 13.3% gain.
Supporting the dollar somewhat were perceptions that powerful winter storms trekking across the country over the past month have bruised the economy and not a noteworthy decline in domestic demand, which should open the door to more robust economic indicators when the weather warms up.
Meanwhile in Europe, the European Commission revised up its growth forecast for the euro zone to 1.2% this year, up from 1.1% in November, which bolstered the euro.
However, the European Commission also cut its inflation forecast for 2014 to 1% from 1.5% in November, and warned that debt levels in several countries will continue to climb.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.02% at 80.16.
On Wednesday, the U.S. is to release data on new home sales, a leading indicator of demand in the housing market.
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