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    Dollar pushed higher after strong U.S. retail sales report

    The greenback pushed higher on Friday against the other major currencies, after the release of upbeat U.S. retail sales data for January, fuelled optimism over the strength of the economy, encouraging that the Federal Reserve is likely to stay on a tightening path as other world central banks ease monetary policy.
     
    The U.S. Census Bureau reported that retail sales rose 0.2% in January, exceeding expectations for a 0.1% uptick. Retail sales rose 0.2% increase in December, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated 0.1% fall.
     
    Core retail sales, which exclude automobiles, increased by 0.1% last month, in line with expectations and after an uptick of 0.1% in December.
     
    As a result the dollar was boosted against the Japanese yen, with USD/JPY climbed 0.7% at 113.21 in late trade, off Thursday’s 15-month trough of 110.96.
     
    The dollar was also higher against the euro and the Swiss franc, with EUR/USD dropped 0.6% at 1.1254 late Friday and USD/CHF gaining 0.52% to 0.9774.
     
    Meanwhile, the Australian and New Zealand dollars were weaker, with AUD/USD down 0.44% at 0.7076 and with NZD/USD tumbling 1.44% to 0.6619.
     
    The dollar edged down 0.14 against its Canadian counterpart, with USD/CAD to trade at 1.3915, as a rebound in oil prices lent support to the commodity-related currency.
     
    The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.37% at 95.99, off Thursday’s three-and-a-half month lows of 95.28. The index still ended the week down 1.1%, the second straight weekly decline.
     
    In the week ahead, investors will be watching on Friday, the U.S. inflation data for indications on whether the Federal Reserve will raise rates at all this year. In focus will be also, Thursday's release of Chinese inflation data.

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