(November 28, 2017) The yen weakened in Asia on Wednesday with a fresh ballistic missile test by North Korea adding to concerns that Pyongyang may again test a nuclear weapon.
USD/JPY changed hands at 111.66, down 0.16%, while AUD/USD traded at 0.7594, down 0.01%. GBP/USD rose 0.09% to 1.3357 on reports Britain was near a deal with the EU on the final cost of Brexit.
North Korea fired a ballistic missile from an area near Pyongyang early on Wednesday, South Korea’s military said, while the Japanese government said it landed in the country’s exclusive economic zone.
The Pentagon says initial assessment of the North Korea launch was an ICBM and Japan PM Shinzo Abe ordered an emergency meeting of cabinet ministers over the missile launch.
Japan reported retail sales for October fell 0.2% as expected on year.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, edged up 0.01% to 93.21.
Overnight, the dollar rose against a basket of major currencies on mostly upbeat economic data while comments from Fed chair designate Jerome Powell lifted sentiment on the greenback.
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence gauge rose to 129.5 in November from 126.2. in October, beating economists’ forecast for a reading of 124.
The upbeat consumer confidence came just hours after a pair of mixed on goods trade data and wholesale inventories.
The Commerce Department said on Tuesday the goods trade gap widened 6.5% to $68.3 billion in October amid an increase in imports of industrial supplies, consumer and other goods.
Wholesale inventories fell 0.4% in October after rising 0.1% in September, the Commerce Department reported on Tuesday.
Traders shifted focus to Fed chair designate Jerome Powell’s confirmation hearing, in which he said that the Fed expects interest rates to rise “somewhat further” and the size of its balance sheet to gradually shrink.
Powell’s comments did little to change the widely held view that the incoming Fed chair will adopt a similar stance to outgoing Fed Chair Janet Yellen on monetary policy.
Also supporting an uptick in the dollar was euro weakness amid a slew of economic data that undershot expectations.