New York/ AFP
The dollar rebounded against the yen as solid US retail sales data and rising oil prices lifted sentiment on global markets after a punishing week.
The dollar rebounded 0.8 percent to 113.25 yen around 2200 GMT from the same time Thursday. During the Thursday session, it had fallen to 110.99 yen, its weakest level since October 2014.
“For the first time in 10 trading days the US dollar ended the day higher against the Japanese yen thanks to better-than-expected retail sales and a rebound in oil prices,” said Kathy Lien of BK Asset Management.
US retail sales rose 0.2 percent in January and December’s drop was revised upward to a 0.2 percent gain.
“This report confirms our view that consumers are doing most of the heavy lifting despite stock market volatility,” said Chris Christopher of IHS Global Insight. “The consumer outlook for the next couple of years remains favorable.”
Investors were also cheered by a 12.3 percent rebound in US oil prices to $29.44 a barrel from an almost 13-year low on Thursday.
Lien said that all eyes next week would be on the Federal Reserve’s minutes of its last monetary policy meeting, due Wednesday.
She noted that the post-meeting statement suggested the central bank could leave interest rates unchanged at the mid-March meeting if markets remained unsettled..
Though the Fed in December projected four quarter-point rate hikes this year, many analysts are now questioning if there is support for any increases this year.
“The market is bearish dollars and dovish FOMC minutes would give investors another excuse to sell the currency,” Lien said.