Investing.com - The dollar edged lower against the yen late Friday after U.S. data on housing starts and consumer sentiment painted an uneven picture of the economic recovery.
USD/JPY settled at 101.52, down 0.05% for the day, not far from the two-month trough of 101.30 reached in the previous session. For the week, the pair was down 0.66%.
The dollar briefly edged up to session highs against the yen after the Commerce Department reported that U.S. housing starts rose 13.2% last month, after a 2.0% increase in March.
It was the largest increase in five months, indicating that the economy is shaking off the effect of a weather related slowdown over the winter.
The upbeat housing data was offset by a report showing that U.S. consumer confidence deteriorated this month. The University of Michigan''s consumer sentiment index dropped to 81.8, from 84.1 the month before. Analysts had expected a slight uptick to 84.5.
Elsewhere Friday, EUR/JPY settled at 139.03, down 0.17% for the day, after falling to lows of 138.78 earlier in the session, the weakest since February 12.
The single currency remained under pressure after weaker-than-expected data on euro zone first quarter growth on Thursday added to pressure on the European Central Bank to ease monetary policy at its next meeting in June, in order to safeguard the recovery in the region.
The euro zone’s gross domestic product grew just 0.2% in the first quarter, compared to expectations for growth of 0.4% and expanded by a smaller than expected 0.9% from a year earlier.
In the week ahead, investors will be looking to the minutes from the Federal Reserve''s latest monetary policy meeting, due for release on Wednesday, for insight on the central bank''s view of the economy.
The Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decision on Wednesday will also be in focus.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.
Monday, May 19
Japan is to release a report on core machinery orders.
In the U.S., Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Charles Plosser and Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley are to speak.
Wednesday, May 21
The BoJ is to announce its benchmark interest rate and publish its monetary policy statement, which outlines economic conditions and the factors affecting the bank’s decision. The announcement is to be followed by a press conference.
Japan is also to publish data on the trade balance, the difference in value between imports and exports.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen is to speak at an event in New York.
Later Wednesday, the Fed is to publish the minutes of its May meeting.
Thursday, May 22
The U.S. is to release its weekly report on initial jobless claims and private sector data on existing home sales.
Friday, May 23
The U.S. is to round up the week with data on new homes sales.
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