Dollar remains lower vs. yen, euro; U.S. data ahead

The dollar remained near four-day lows against the yen on Wednesday, while the euro held gains after data showed that the recovery in the euro area’s private sector accelerated this month.

USD/JPY was last down 0.35% to 102.25, the weakest since April 17.

Elsewhere, EUR/USD was last up 0.26% to 1.3842.

The euro was boosted after data on Wednesday showed that the euro zone manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 53.3 this month from 53.0 in March, compared to expectations for an unchanged reading.

The bloc’s services PMI rose to 53.1 from 52.2 the previous month, better then forecasts for 52.4.

The recovery in Germany, the euro zone’s largest economy accelerated this month, with activity in both the manufacturing and service sector strengthening, but growth in the French private sector lost momentum.

Sterling eased back from four-and-a-half year highs against the dollar, with GBP/USD slipping 0.12% to 1.6803, not far from the peaks of 1.6840 reached last Thursday.

The pound slipped after Wednesday’s minutes of the Bank of England’s April meeting showed that the members of the Monetary Policy Committee were “uncertain” about the amount of slack remaining in the economy and also held differing views on the outlook for inflation over the medium term.

The minutes also showed that MPC members voted unanimously to keep interest rates at a record low 0.5%.

A separate report showed that the U.K. government has hit its target for deficit reduction for the last financial year.

The Swiss franc gained ground, with USD/CHF down 0.41% to trade at 0.8814.

The Australian dollar was sharply lower, with AUD/USD dropping 0.82% to 0.9289, after data showed that domestic inflation slowed in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, NZD/USD edged down 0.19% to 0.8589 and USD/CAD inched up 0.01% to 1.1028.

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.22% to 79.81.