Forex — Dollar edges lower vs. rivals in quiet trade

The dollar edged lower against the other major currencies in quiet trade on Tuesday, as oil prices resumed their downward trend and as concerns over global economic growth persisted.
USD/JPY was down 0.21% at 120.78.
The safe-haven yen strengthened as oil prices moved back toward $31 a barrel after hovering above $34 a barrel for the past three sesssions.
Meanwhile, investors remained cautious amid ongoing concerns over global economic growth after data on Monday showed that manufacturing activity in China contracted for a sixth straight month in January.
EUR/USD rose 0.21% to trade at 1.0910.
Earlier Tuesday, Eurostat said that the euro zone’s unemployment rate fell to 10.4% from 10.5% in November. This is the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since September 2011. Analysts had expected the jobless rate to hold steady at 10.5% in December.
The report came shortly after Germany’s Federal Statistics Office said the unemployment rate fell to 6.2% in January from 6.3% a month earlier. Analysts had expected the jobless rate to hold steady at 6.3% last month.
The number of unemployed people in Germany decreased by 20,000 last month, better than expectations for a drop of 7,000. Jobless claims fell by 16,000 in December, whose figure was revised from a previously reported decline of 14,000.
Elsewhere, the dollar was higher against the pound and the Swiss franc, with GBP/USD down 0.29% at 1.4392 and with USD/CHF adding 0.12% to 1.0212.
Sterling came under pressure after research firm Markit said its U.K. construction purchasing managers’ index fell to 55.0 last month from a reading of 57.8 in December. Economists had expected the index to decline to 57.5 in January.
Meanwhile, USD/CAD gained 0.42% to 1.4002, as declining oil prices dampened demand for the commodity-related loonie.
The Australian and New Zealand dollars were weaker, with AUD/USD down 0.77% at 0.7058 and with NZD/USD retreating 0.98% to 0.6484.
In a widely expected move, the Reserve Bank of Australia held its benchmark interest rate at 2.00% on Tuesday.
In a statement following the decision, the central bank said however that subdued inflation may “provide scope for easier policy”.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was slipped 0.11% to 98.94.

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