AUD trends weaker as Asia starts new trading week

The Australian dollar held weaker in Asia on Monday in thin trade.

In early dealing, AUD/USD traded at 0.9377, down 0.22%, while USD/JPY traded at 101.46, down 0.16% and EUR/USD held at 1.3846, down 0.28%.

Asia kicks off a short week in many countries that mark the Easter holiday with few data releases today outside of the Monetary Authority of Singapore's semi-annual policy review statement due at 0800 local time (0000 GMT).

Last week, the dollar edged higher against a basket of major currencies as a global selloff sent equities markets lower, but gains looked likely to be temporary amid expectations that U.S. interest rates are likely to remain on hold for some time.

The greenback briefly found support after data on Friday showed that U.S. producer prices rose 0.5% in March, the largest increase in nine months and ahead of expectations for a 0.1% increase.

However, the dollar remained under pressure after the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s March meeting indicated that an interest rate increase is unlikely to be warranted for some time.

The Fed’s March meeting minutes, released on Wednesday, showed that policymakers discussed whether to keep interest rates at record lows until inflation moves higher, and did not elaborate on a possible timeframe for when rates could start to rise.

Last month the U.S. central bank reduced the monthly pace of asset purchases by $10 billion, to $55 billion, and repeated it is likely to continue paring the program in “further measured steps.”

In the week ahead, market watchers will be focusing on speeches by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, as well as reports on U.S. retail sales and housing starts. Data on first quarter Chinese economic growth and a rate decision by the Bank of Canada will also be closely watched.

The US Dollar Index held at 79.68, up 0.15%.

Ahead of the coming week, has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.

On Monday, the euro zone is to release data on industrial production.

The U.S. is to produce data on retail sales, the government measure of consumer spending, which accounts for the majority of overall economic activity.