Investing.com - The euro pushed higher against the U.S. dollar on Friday, as the release of disappointing U.S. data weighed on demand for the greenback, although sustained concerns over Ukraine and China were expected to limit gains.
EUR/USD hit 1.3936 during U.S. morning trade, the session high; the pair subsequently consolidated at 1.3923, gaining 0.40%.
The pair was likely to find support at 1.3843, the low of March 12 and resistance at 1.3966, Thursday''s high and a two-and-a-half year high.
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.
Sterling was lower against the euro, with EUR/GBP rising 0.36% to 0.8374.
Also Friday, 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.