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Forex News: Dollar Little Changed As Healthcare Reform Vote Looms

Dollar Little Changed As Healthcare Reform Vote Looms Large

03/24/2017 - 14:20:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The dollar is turning in a mixed performance against its major rivals Friday afternoon, but is little changed overall. Investors are in a cautious mood ahead of a crucial Congressional vote on healthcare reform.

The vote was expected to take place Thursday evening, but House Republican leaders delayed a vote on the bill amid indications of a lack of support. However, President Donald Trump has demanded that the vote go forward today.

If a vote on the replacement of Obamacare fails, it could cast doubt on Trump's ability to deliver on promises of increased infrastructure spending, tax cuts and deregulation.

Reflecting a continued increase in demand for commercial aircraft and parts, the Commerce Department released a report on Friday showing that new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods shot up by more than anticipated in the month of February.

The report said durable goods orders jumped by 1.7 percent in February after surging up by a revised 2.3 percent in January. Economists had expected orders to climb by 1.2 percent compared to the 2.0 percent spike that had been reported for the previous month.

The dollar has slipped to around $1.08 against the Euro Friday afternoon, from an early high of $1.0759.

Eurozone private sector activity expanded at the fastest pace in almost six years in March, amid robust new orders and employment growth in both manufacturing and service sectors. The composite output index rose unexpectedly to 56.7 from 56.0 in February, flash data from the purchasing managers' survey by IHS Markit showed Friday. The score was forecast to fall slightly to 55.8.

Germany registered the fastest rate of private sector output growth in nearly six years at the end of the first quarter of 2017, flash survey results from IHS Markit showed Friday. The composite output index rose for the second straight month in March, to 57.0 from 56.1 in February. This was the highest score since May 2011.

France's economic growth doubled as estimated in the fourth quarter, final data from the statistical office Insee showed Friday. Gross domestic product grew 0.4 percent sequentially, following third quarter's 0.2 percent expansion. The estimates were left unrevised.

France's private sector expanded at the fastest pace in nearly six years in March, flash data from IHS Markit showed Friday. The flash composite output index rose to 57.6 in March from 55.9 in February. The latest figure pointed to the sharpest rate of growth since May 2011.

The buck rose to a high of $1.2468 against the Euro Friday, but has since retreated to around $1.25.

UK mortgage approvals for house purchases fell to a three month low in February, British Bankers' Association said Friday. The number of mortgages approved for house purchases fell to 42,613 in February from 44,142 in January. This was the lowest since November. The expected level for February was 44,900.

British households perceived that the value of their homes increased again in March, survey figures from IHS Markit and Knight Frank showed Friday. The Knight Frank/Markit House Price Sentiment Index, or HPSI, came in at 57.5 in March, the same reading as in February.

Japan's economy is more firmly progressing towards a recovery, but there was still a long way to go to attain the 2 percent price stability target, and hence, the central bank cannot withdraw its massive stimulus now, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said Friday.

"There is no reason to reduce the level of monetary accommodation at the moment in terms of economic and price developments," Kuroda said in a speech at an event in Tokyo hosted by Reuters news agency.

The momentum toward achieving the 2 percent target is maintained but not yet sufficiently firm, the BoJ Chief said. The bank expects the target to be achieved around fiscal 2018.

The greenback reached an early high of Y111.480 against the Japanese Yen Friday, but has since pulled back to around Y110.875.

The manufacturing sector in Japan continued to expand in March, albeit at a slower rate, the latest survey from Nikkei revealed on Friday with a PMI score of 52.6. That's down from 53.3 in February, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

Japan's leading index rose less than estimated in January, final data from the Cabinet Office showed Friday. The leading index climbed marginally to 104.9 in January from 104.8 in December. The score was revised down from 105.5. The indicator measures the future course of economic activity.

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