FOREX-U.S. retail data drive muted dollar gains before Yellen

Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:43am EDT

Related Topics

* Soft June retail data offset by upward May revisions
    * Euro drops on ZEW survey
    * Fed chief to testify to Congress on Tuesday, Wednesday
    * Sterling rises after UK inflation jumps

 (Adds dollar gains, quotes, US data details and changes byline
and dateline; previous LONDON)
    By Michael Connor
    NEW YORK, July 15 (Reuters) - The dollar got a lift on
Tuesday from retail data showing the U.S. economy expanding but
gains were muted as investors awaited possibly market-moving
congressional testimony by Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen.
    The euro dropped and the British pound jumped 0.5 percent
against the dollar on higher than forecast inflation data, which
encouraged speculation Britain will raise interest rates sooner
than other big economies. 
    The U.S. dollar index, which weighs the greenback against
six currencies, was up 0.03 percent, versus a 0.02 percent
decline shortly before the U.S. Commerce Department reported a
0.2 percent rise in American retail sales in June.
    That was less than expected by global markets but the data
included an upwardly revised 0.5 percent advance in May.
 
    "It was a confusing set of data because the headline was a
little bit weak but the revisions for May were strong enough to
compensate," said Camilla Sutton, currency strategist at Scotia
Capital in Toronto. "Together, we don't really have a
significant change for the outlook for the consumer in Q2."
     The dollar stood at 101.64 yen, up 0.1 percent and very
near the trading day's high.
     In European trade, the euro fell to a one-week low against
the dollar, dropping to $1.3587, after Germany's ZEW
survey of economic sentiment suggested a shaky start for
Europe's largest economy in the third quarter. It last traded
off 0.1 percent at $136.07.
    The euro was also down 0.3 percent lower against the yen at
138.24 yen and 0.6 percent weaker against the British
pound.
    Investors are awaiting the congressional testimony from
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen later Tuesday and will
examine Yellen's remarks for clues on the timing of interest
rate rises. U.S. data in the second quarter signalled the
economy was gaining momentum.
    Private-sector jobs and non-farm payrolls growth in June
were better than economists had expected and the unemployment
rate fell to a near-six-year low of 6.1 percent. But wage
inflation is still subdued, giving ammunition to policymakers to
keep rates lower for longer.
    The euro's losses were much deeper against the British pound
which outperformed after data showed a jump in UK inflation.
    Consumer prices rose 1.9 percent on the year in June, the
Office for National Statistics said, beating expectation for a 
1.6 percent reading. 
    Against the dollar, the pound surged to a session igh of
$1.7174 after the data from $1.7078 beforehand, up 0.3
percent and within touching distance of a near six-year high of
$1.1780 hit earlier this month.
    

 (Additional reporting by Anirban Nag and Patrick Graham Editing
by W Simon)
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