U.S. Dollar Eases

The dollar nursed modest losses against a basket of major currencies early on Wednesday, having fallen in particular against sterling which raced to a five-month high on the back of upbeat UK data.  Traders said the market was also taking a more defensive stance on the greenback in case U.S. retail sales due later in the day were to disappoint. ECONUS

The dollar index .DXY last traded at 94.561, having shed 0.5 percent on Tuesday. The greenback dipped to 119.87 yen JPY=, from Tuesday’s high of 120.28. Still, it remained stuck in a 118.500-120.845 range seen since April.  The euro climbed to $1.1216 EUR= from $1.1134, but was well short of retesting a two-month peak of $1.1392 set last week.

Sterling was one of the best performing major currencies overnight, rallying as far as $1.5710 GBP=D4, a high last seen in mid-December, before settling at $1.5668 early in Asia.  Official data showed British industrial output grew at its fastest rate in six months in March after an unexpected bounce in oil and gas extraction, easing fears that economic growth is starting to slow.