Investing.com — Most Asian currencies firmed on Monday as softer-than-expected U.S. inflation readings pushed up hopes that the Federal Reserve will taper its hawkish stance, with focus also turning to more U.S. economic cues this week.
The U.S. dollar steadied after a drop on Friday, as the – the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge – read softer than expected for May.
The and traded sideways in Asian trade after losing about 0.4% each on Friday.
Losses in the dollar benefited most Asian units, although gains were limited following mixed economic readings from the region’s biggest economies. Markets are also still later in July.
Chinese yuan limps higher after factory activity beats expectations
The added 0.1% as a showed that China’s manufacturing sector grew slightly more than expected in June. But the reading was weaker than May’s data, indicating that the few bright spots in the Chinese economy may be running out of gas.
The yuan also benefited from a stronger daily midpoint fix by the People’s Bank of China. But the Chinese currency stuck close to seven-month lows, as a worsening outlook for the economy and the prospect of more interest rate cuts in the country kept the yuan’s appeal dim.
Concerns over China kept gains in most Asian currencies limited. The added 0.5%, while the fell 0.2%, even as data pointed to towards the Japanese economy.
The surged 0.3%, hitting a near two-month high amid increasing optimism over the South Asian economy.
Australian dollar flat ahead of RBA
The moved little on Monday, amid some uncertainty over whether the will hike rates on Tuesday.
While overall eased in May, core inflation still remained elevated and above the RBA’s target range, which fed expectations that the bank may yet need to hike rates further. Analysts are split over a 25 basis point hike this week.
Other data on Monday also pointed to more cooling in the Australian economy, with shrinking further in June.
Fed minutes, nonfarm payrolls on tap
But despite Monday’s gains, most Asian currencies were still trading substantially weaker for the year, amid continued pressure from rising U.S. interest rates.
Data this week is expected to provide more cues on the world’s largest economy, with the due on Wednesday.
– a key labor market gauge watched by the Fed – is also due on Friday, and is largely expected to factor into U.S. monetary policy.