Investing.com – The dollar was little changed against a basket of other major currencies on Friday, as a strong U.S. consumer sentiment report helped ease concerns over the timing of a U.S. rate hike continued to weigh.
In a preliminary report, the University of Michigan said its consumer sentiment index rose to 95.9 this month from 93.0 in March, beating expectationd for a reading of 94.0.
The data came after the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said that consumer prices rose 0.2% last month, confounding expectations for an increase of 0.3%, after a 0.2% uptick in February.
Year-on-year, U.S. consumer prices fell 0.1% in March, compared to expectations for a 0.1% rise.
Core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy, rose 0.2% last month, in line with expectations and after a 0.2% gain in February.
The greenback has remained under pressure as disappointing U.S. data published throughout the week fuelled speculation that the Federal Reserve could delay hiking interest rates until late 2015, instead of tightening midyear.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 97.87.
EUR/USD almost unchanged at 1.0761, after rising up to 1.0849 earlier in the session
The euro found support after revised data showed that euro zone consumer price inflation rose 1.1% last month, in line with expectations and up from a preliminary estimate of 0.6%. Euro zone inflation declined by 0.3% in February.
The rate grew closer to the European Central Bank’s target of near but just below 2%.
Core CPI, which excludes food, energy, alcohol, and tobacco costs rose 1.4% in February, up from an initial estimate of 0.6%.
The pound was higher, with GBP/USD up 0.31% to 1.4981, even as the Office for National Statistics said that the U.K. claimant count dropped 20,700 last month, compared to expectations for a 29,500 decline.
A separate report showed that the U.K. unemployment rate ticked down to 5.6% in February from 5.7% the previous month, in line with expectations.
Elsewhere, the dollar was steady against the yen, with USD/JPY at 119.09 and lower against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF slipping 0.14% to 0.9548.
The Australian dollar turned lower, with AUD/NZD down 0.43% to 0.7771 and the New Zealand held steady, with NZD/USD at 0.7671.
Meanwhile, USD/CAD was little changed at 1.2187, off 3-month lows of 1.2089 hit earlier.
Data on Friday showed that Canada’s retail sales rose 1.7% in February, beating expectations for a 0.2% gain and after a revised 1.4% decline the previous month.
Data also showed that Canadian consumer prices ticked up 0.7% last month, compared to expectations for an increase of 0.5%, after 0.9% rise in February.