Investing.com - The Australian dollar fell smartly on Thursday in Asia after retail sales came in below expectations though the trade surplus was wider than expected and comments from Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens hinted that further monetary easing is unlikely.
AUD/USD traded at 0.9216, down 0.35%, extening early weakness after February retail sales rose 0.2% month-on-month compared to an expectation of a 0.3% gain. The country''s February trade surplus however widened to A$1.2 billion, compared to an expectation of a surplus of A$850 million.
Earlier in the session, AI Group said Australia''s services sector fell 6.3 points to 48.9 to contraction in March, dropping from expansion for the first time in two years in February.
Stevens however in remarks in Melbourne said there are promising early signs that Australia can manage the downward phase of the resources investment boom into domestic led consumption without resorting to further extensive monetary measures with the cash rate now at a record low 2.5%.
"We have, by and large, managed the first part and there are some promising early signs that things may turn out not too badly in the second," Stevens said.
In China, the CFLP service PMI fell to 54.5 in March from 55 in Februart. The HSBC version of the service PMI however rose to 51.9 in March from 51 in February.
USD/JPY traded at 103.95, up 0.07%, in a thin data day in Japan.
Overnight, the dollar traded largely higher against most major currencies on upbeat private-sector jobs and factory orders reports fueled hopes for a more sustained U.S. recovery down the road, which sparked demand for the greenback.
Payroll processing firm ADP reported earlier that the U.S. private sector added 191,000 jobs in March, just shy of expectations for a 195,000 reading.
February’s figure was revised up to a gain of 178,000 from a previously reported increase of 139,000, and the overall report bolstered the dollar by fueling hopes Friday''s official nonfarm payrolls data will come in solid.
Separately, the Commerce Department said U.S. factory orders jumped 1.6% in February, the biggest increase since September, ahead of forecasts for a 1.2% rise.
The data strengthened the greenback by keeping expectations on track for the Federal Reserve to continue winding monetary stimulus programs this year.
The US Dollar Index which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, rose 0.01% to 80.40.
On Thursday, the U.S. is to publish data on the trade balance and its weekly report on initial jobless claims.
Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management is to publish a report service-sector activity.