Dollar Slips Ahead Of Retail-Sales Data

The dollar edged lower in Asia trading on Wednesday, ahead of retail-sales data expected to provide more signs on the health of the U.S. economy.

The ICE dollar index , which measures the greenback against a basket of six rivals, reached 82.479 from 82.585 in late North American trading on Tuesday.

The WSJ dollar index , which measures the greenback against a slightly wider basket, traded at 73.57 compared with 73.66 late the previous session.

While the dollar moved lower on Wednesday, month to date it’s up 0.7% as investors reacted to data including recent better-than-expected nonfarm-payroll figures.

The next piece of data likely to attract investor interest is retail sales, out later in the global trading day Wednesday.

“We look for a 0.6% gain in top-line February retail sales, boosted by gains in motor-vehicle sales and higher receipts at gas stations as fuel prices spiked higher,” said strategists at Credit Agricole. They noted that their estimate is above consensus.

Economists are expecting a rise in retail sales of 0.2%, according to estimates compiled by FactSet, with retail sales excluding autos expected to increase 0.3% in February.

Against the Japanese yen  the dollar slipped to ¥95.75 from ¥96.05 in late trading the previous day.

“There’s a lot of good news priced into the yen,” said Annette Beacher, strategist at TD Securities. “There’s a big laundry list of expectations” for the Bank of Japan, she said, cautioning that heightened expectations can also create scope for disappointment.

The Australian dollar  traded at $1.031 versus $1.0316 reached in the previous session.

Of the European majors, the euro  reached $1.3035 from $1.3027 in late trading on Tuesday.

Sterling  traded at $1.4932 against $1.483 in late North American trading on Tuesday. That pared some of the British’s currency’s sharp drop Tuesday after a weak industrial-production report.