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    Aussie down a tad in early Asia as investors eye regional data

    The Aussie drifted lower in early Asia on Friday with data sets from Australia, China and Japan on the cards.

    AUD/USD traded at 0.7223, down 0.08%, while USD/JPY traded at 108.84, down 0.03%. EUR/USD traded at 1.1151, down 0.02%.

    In Australia the AIG services index is due for May with a level of 49.7 seen in April.

    In Japan, average cash earnings for April are seen up 0.9% year-on-year.

    Later in China, the Caixin services PMI is expected at 52.0 in May, from 51.8 in April.

    The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was last quoted at 95.56.

    Overnight, the dollar held steady against the other major currencies on Thursday, after the release of upbeat U.S. employment data and as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi warned that inflation is likely to remain low for some time.

    Payroll processing firm ADP said non-farm private employment rose by 173,000 last month, just below expectations for an increase of 175,000.

    The economy created 166,000 jobs in April, whose figure was upwardly revised from a previously reported increase of 156,000.

    Separately, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending May 28 decreased by 1,000 to 267,000 from the previous week’s total of 268,000.

    Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 2,000 to 270,000 last week.

    But the yen remained supported after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday he was planning to delay a scheduled sales tax hike amid ongoing weakness in the economy. He also announced plans to implement a fiscal stimulus package later this year.

    Speaking shortly after the decision, ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank revised its inflation forecast for 2016 up to 0.2% from 0.1% before, but kept its inflation forecasts for 2016 and 2017 at 1.3% and 1.6% respectively.

    Draghi also warned that inflation in the euro area is likely to remain very low, or negative, for some time.

    In addition, the ECB raised its growth forecast for 2016 up to 1.6% from 1.4%, but left its forecasts for the following two years unchanged.

    Draghi reiterated that the ECB will continue to run its bond-purchasing program until March 2017, or until inflation moves back towards the bank’s target of close to, but just below 2%.

    The ECB will start buying debt issued by companies on 8 June, as part of the stimulus program announced in March.


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