Dollar gains on U.S., Japanese data in quiet session

A better-than-expected U.S. forward-looking indicator coupled with soft Japanese trade figures boosted the dollar on Monday in a quiet session, with many global markets closed for the Easter holiday.

In U.S. trading on Monday, EUR/USD was down 0.13% at 1.3792.

In the U.S. earlier, the Conference Board reported that its index of leading indicators, which measures future economic activity, increased 0.8% in March after a 0.5% rise in February, beating expectations for a 0.7% reading.

Elsewhere, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index decreased to 0.20 in March from 0.53 in February, in line with expectations.

The numbers reminded investors that even though the timing of rate hikes in the U.S. remains unclear, the Federal Reserve remains on track to continue tapering its monthly bond-purchasing program this year as the economy recovers.

Fed bond purchases, currently standing at $55 billion a month, weaken the dollar by suppressing interest rates, though talk of their dismantling often bolsters the greenback.

Elsewhere, Japan's March trade deficit widened to ¥1.446 trillion, outpacing a forecast for a ¥1.070 trillion figure.

Exports were up 1.8% on-year, missing a forecast of a 6.3% year-on-year gain and imports rose 18.1%, with expectations for a 16.2% increase.

The data for the full-year ended March showed the country reached a record trade deficit of ¥13.7 trillion.

Soft Japanese trade figures boosted the dollar as well in quiet trading.

The dollar was up against the yen, with USD/JPY up 0.17% at 102.60, and up against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF up 0.18% at 0.8851.

The greenback was up against the pound, with GBP/USD down 0.04% at 1.6795.

The dollar was mixed against its cousins in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with USD/CAD down 0.05% at 1.1017, AUD/USD down 0.11% at 0.9324 and NZD/USD down 0.23% at 0.8556.

The US dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.14% at 80.04.

On Tuesday, the U.S. is to release private sector data on existing home sales.