Dollar rises against yen, Canadian dollar lower after BoC

The dollar was higher against the yen on Wednesday following the release of slightly stronger than expected data on Chinese first quarter growth, while the Canadian dollar weakened following a dovish rate statement from the Bank of Canada.

USD/JPY was last up 0.33% to 102.25, from 101.90 on Tuesday.

Market sentiment was buoyed after 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 euro was little changed against the dollar, with EUR/USD edging up 0.06% to 1.3824, while USD/CHF edged up 0.07% to 0.8807.

In the euro zone, data confirmed that the annual rate of inflation slowed to 0.5% in March from 0.7% the previous month, the lowest since November 2009. The weak data added to pressure on the European Central Bank to take fresh steps to stave off the risk of deflation in the region.

Elsewhere, the pond was trading close to four-year highs against the dollar, with GBP/USD up 0.46% to 1.6802, not far from the peaks of 1.6821 struck on February 17.

The pound’s gains came after data showed that the U.K. unemployment rate fell to a five year low of 6.9% in the three months to February, bolstering the outlook for the wider economic recovery.

The U.S. dollar rose to session highs against the Canadian dollar, with USD/CAD advancing 0.20% to 1.1000 after the BoC left rates on hold at 1.00% and said the timing and direction of the next change to the policy rate will be data dependent.

New Zealand’s dollar fell to one-and-a-half week lows, with NZD/USD down 0.39% to 0.8610 after data showed that the annual rate of inflation in New Zealand slowed in the first three months of 2014.

The Australian dollar was almost unchanged, with AUD/USD edging up 0.15% to 0.9376.

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

In the U.S., data on Wednesday showed that industrial production rose 0.7% in March, ahead of expectations for a 0.5% increase.

A separate report showed that U.S. housing starts rose less than expected in March, while building permits fell, pointing to underlying weakness in the housing sector.

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