The dollar was slightly weaker versus major rivals on Tuesday, but steadied in afternoon dealing amid lingering worries that Europe is not moving fast enough to quell its prolonged sovereign debt crisis.
Encouraging economic news from France and China fueled risk appetite, driving the dollar away from a recent 16-month high against the euro. Earnings news from Alcoa raised hopes of a strong corporate earnings season.
The buck eased to $1.2818 against the euro before settling near $1.2770. Choppy dealing left the dollar at Y76.80 versus the yen, and less than two cents above par versus its Canadian counterpart.
U.S. wholesale inventories crept up slightly in November, according to figures released Tuesday by the Commerce Department, with the pace of growth dropping off sharply following a large increase in October.
Estimates put U.S. wholesale inventories at a seasonally adjusted level of $468.9 billion, up just 0.1 percent from revised October levels. Most economists had predicted a larger increase in inventories of roughly 0.5 percent.
Industrial production in France increased unexpectedly in November, data from the statistical office Insee showed Tuesday.
Production rose 1.1 percent month-on-month in November, against economists’ expectations for a 0.2 percent decline. This followed a 0.1 percent increase in production in October.
Overall retail sales in the UK increased in December by 1.4 percent from one year earlier, the British Retail Consortium reported Tuesday. BRC said sales values on a like-for-like basis were up 2.2 percent on year.
China’s export growth eased in December amid slowing demand from Europe, the country’s largest trading partner, data from the customs agency revealed Tuesday. Still, analysts say the data shows the world’s fastest-growing economy is heading for a soft landng rather than a major slowdown.