Investing.com - The Aussie jumped higher after the release of central bank minutes on Tuesday pointed to a upbeat assessment of the economy.
The Reserve Bank of Australia sees domestic conditions on balance as positive, though it continues to keep a close eye on the economic wobbles in China, according to the minutes of its Feb. 2 board meeting released Tuesday.
At the meeting, the RBA held rates at a record low 2%.
Earlier, in New Zealand, retail sales quarter-on-quarter rose 1.2% in the fourth quarter, weaker than the 1.4% gain expected.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was last quoted at 96.75, up 0.79%
Overnight, the dollar pushed broadly higher against the other major currencies on Monday, as Friday’s upeat U.S. retail sales data continued to support and as comments by Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe still weighed on the yen.
Trading volumes were low on Monday with U.S. markets closed in observance of Presidents' Day.
The Commerce Department said on Friday that retail sales rose 0.2% last month, beating expectations for an increase of 0.1%.
Retail figures used to calculate gross domestic product, which exclude cars, fuel, building materials and food services, rose 0.6% in January after a 0.3% fall in the previous month.
Meanwhile, the yen weakened after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament that "excessive currency volatility is undesirable," and said Tokyo will take appropriate action in the exchange rate market as needed. Separately, data earlier showed that Japan’s gross domestic product contracted by an annualized 1.4% in the three months to December, worse than expectations for a contraction of 1.2%, following a revised 1.3% expansion in the second quarter.
Also Monday, data showed that China’s exports fell 11.2% in January from the same month a year earlier, following a drop of 1.4% in December. Economists had forecast a far more modest decline of 1.9%.
Imports dropped 18.8% last month after falling 7.6% in December, compared to expectations for a 0.8% decrease.
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