Investing.com – The Australian dollar rose to a three-week peak against its U.S. counterpart on Friday before turning lower amid ongoing uncertainty over the timing of a Federal Reserve rate hike.
AUD/USD hit 0.7842 on Friday, the pair’s strongest level since March 26, before subsequently consolidating at 0.7787 by close of trade on Friday, down 0.2% for the day.
For the week, the pair climbed 1.2%, the second straight weekly gain, amid speculation the Federal Reserve could delay hiking interest rates until late 2015 after a recent run of soft economic data dampened optimism on the recovery.
The Labor Department reported Friday that U.S. inflation edged up 0.2% last month, matching a similar gain in February. On a year-over-year basis, consumer prices dipped 0.1% in March after remaining flat in February.
Core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy costs increased 0.2% in March for an annual increase of 1.8%, the largest since October.
The report came after data earlier in the week showed that U.S. retail sales for March came in below expectations. Another report, showing a larger-than-forecast drop in industrial output pointed to a slowdown the first quarter.
Meanwhile, sentiment on the Aussie was boosted after official data Thursday showed that the number of employed people rose by 37,700 in March, exceeding expectations for an increase of 15,000. February’s figure was revised to a 41,900 gain from a previously estimated 15,600 rise.
The report also showed that Australia’s unemployment report ticked down to 6.1% last month from 6.2% in February. Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to inch up to 6.3%.
In the week ahead, investors will be looking ahead to reports on the U.S. housing sector and data on durable goods orders for further indications on the strength of the recovery.
Market players are also looking ahead to Australian inflation data due on Wednesday.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.
Monday, April 20
Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens is to speak at an event in New York.
Tuesday, April 21
The RBA is to publish the minutes of its latest policy meeting, giving investors insight into how officials view the economy and their policy options.
Wednesday, April 22
Australia is to publish data on consumer price inflation.
Later in the day, the U.S. is to release data on existing home sales.
Thursday, April 23
Australia is to release private sector data on business confidence.
China is to release private sector data on manufacturing activity. The Asian nation is Australia’s largest trade partner.
Later Thursday, the U.S. is to report in initial jobless claims and new home sales.
Friday, April 24
The U.S. is to round up the week with a report on durable goods orders.