Dollar higher against yen, kiwi drops

The dollar was higher against the yen on Wednesday after data showed that China’s economy grew slightly faster than forecast in the first quarter, while the New Zealand dollar was lower following weak domestic inflation data.

USD/JPY was last up 0.28% to 102.19, from 101.90 on Tuesday.

Official data released on Wednesday showed that China’s gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 7.4% in the first three months of 2014, slowing from 7.7% in the fourth quarter, but slightly ahead of expectations for growth of 7.3%.

The yen also came under pressure as strong gains in Asian equities markets overnight curbed safe haven demand for the Japanese currency. The Nikkei rallied 3.01%, led higher by gains in technology shares.

The euro pushed higher against the dollar, with EUR/USD edging up 0.07% to 1.3824.

Sterling edged higher against the dollar, with GBP/USD up 0.09% to 1.6740 ahead of the U.K. jobs report for March due out later in the session.

The Swiss franc was almost unchanged, with USD/CHF trading at 0.8799.

New Zealand’s dollar fell to one-and-a-half week lows, with NZD/USD down 0.63% to 0.8589 after data on Wednesday showed that the annual rate of inflation in New Zealand rose 1.5% in the first quarter, slowing from 1.6% in the fourth quarter and undershooting expectations for 1.7%.

Meanwhile, the Australian and Canadian dollars were steady, with AUD/USD edging up 0.02% to 0.9363, and USD/CAD dipping 0.03% to 1.0975.

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was almost unchanged at 79.85.

Market watchers were looking ahead to a speech on monetary policy by Fed Chair Janet Yellen in New York later in the trading day.