Dollar holds gains vs. rivals in light trad

The dollar remained mostly higher against the other major currencies in light trade on Monday, after the release of strong U.S. retail sales data and as concerns over tensions in Ukraine continued to dampen risk sentiment.

USD/JPY edged up 0.17% to 101.79.

Official data showed that U.S. retail sales rose 1.1% in March, exceeding expectations for a 0.8% gain. Retail sales in February were revised up to a 0.7% increase from a previously estimated 0.3% rise.

Core retail sales, which exclude automobiles, rose 0.7% last month, more than the expected 0.5% increase, after a 0.3% gain in February.

Meanwhile, demand for the yen continued to remain supported amid fresh fears over Ukraine as the threat of military action by Kiev against pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country mounted after a deadline for them to leave government buildings they are occupying expired.

The U.S. has indicated that it is prepared to impose more sanctions against Moscow if Russian encroachments in eastern Ukraine continue.

Meanwhile, EUR/USD was down 0.47% to 1.3819.

The euro weakened broadly after ECB President Mario Draghi said Saturday that a further rise in the euro exchange rate would trigger additional monetary easing to keep inflation from falling.

Data last month showed that the annual rate of inflation in the euro area slowed to 0.5%, well below the ECB’s target of just under 2%. The central bank kept monetary policy on hold unchanged earlier this month, but said it would consider unconventional measures if needed to prevent low inflation from becoming entrenched in the euro zone.

The dollar was steady against the pound, with GBP/USD dipping 0.01% to 1.6728 and higher against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF up 0.35% to 0.8791.

The greenback was mixed against its Canadian, Australian and New Zealand counterparts, with USD/CAD falling 0.22% to 1.0956, AUD/USD rising 0.22% to 0.9417 and NZD/USD slipping 0.16% to 0.8675.

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.33% to 79.82.