The dollar is trading with mixed results against its major competitors at the end of the trading week. The U.S. currency is flat against the Japanese Yen, but is gaining ground against the Euro. However, the dollar is down sharply against the pound sterling, following the stronger than expected growth in British retail sales.
After reporting a substantial increase in new residential construction in the previous month, the Commerce Department released a report on Friday showing a pullback in U.S. housing starts in the month of December.
The report said housing starts fell 9.8 percent to an annual rate of 999,000 in December after jumping 23.1 percent to the revised November estimate of 1.107 million. Economists had expected housing starts to drop to an annual rate of 985,000 from the 1.091 million originally reported for the previous month, reflecting a 9.7 percent decrease.
The report also showed that building permits fell 3.0 percent to an annual rate of 986,000 in December from the revised November rate of 1.017 million. Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, had been expected to show a more modest decrease to a rate of 1.015 million.
Industrial production in the U.S rose in line with economist estimates in the month of December, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve on Friday, with increases in manufacturing and mining production offsetting a pullback in utilities output.
The Fed said industrial production increased by 0.3 percent in December after jumping by a revised 1.0 percent in November. The December increase matched economist estimates, while the previous month’s growth was downwardly revised from 1.1 percent.
Consumer sentiment in the U.S. unexpectedly deteriorated in the month of January, according to a report released by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan on Friday. The report said the consumer sentiment index fell to 80.4 in January from 82.5 in December. The drop came as a surprise to economists, who had expected the index to climb to 83.5.
The dollar rose to an early high of $1.6309 against the pound sterling Friday, but has since dropped to a 3-session low of $1.6445.
UK retail sales increased more than expected in December, the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed Friday. Retail sales, including auto fuel, increased 2.6 percent month-on-month in December, notably faster than the 0.3 percent growth expected. In November, sales recorded an increase of 0.1 percent.
The greenback rebounded from an early low of $1.3620 against the Euro on Friday, to a 1-week high of around $1.3565.
Eurozone construction output shrunk for the third consecutive month in November, data released by the statistical office Eurostat showed on Friday. Total construction declined 0.6 percent month-on-month, following a 1.1 percent fall in October, which was revised from a 1.2 percent fall reported initially.
The Japanese government on Friday upwardly revised its assessment of the economy for the first time in four months as the recovery picked up, reflecting improvement in household income and business investment.
“The Japanese economy is recovering at a moderate pace,” the Cabinet Office said in its monthly report. This is an upgrade from its view last month that the economy is “in the process of recovery at a moderate pace.”
The January report suggested that the economy may continue to recover as income and capital expenditure maintain their upward trend.
The buck has continued to hover around the Y104.250 level against the Japanese Yen on Friday, after pulling back from Thursday’s early high of Y104.913.
Japan’s consumer confidence deteriorated unexpectedly in December, monthly survey data from the Cabinet Office showed Friday. The consumer sentiment index fell to seasonally adjusted 41.3 from 42.5 in November. The score was forecast to rise to 43.