Dollar Gains Slightly Against Yen in Asia, U.s. Data Eyed

The dollar edged higher against the yen on Friday in Asia in a light regional data day with direction focused on end of the week indicators in the U.S., including consumer sentiment.

USD/JPY changed hands at 113.44, up 0.11%, while AUD/USD traded at 0.7672, down 0.07%.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, inched up 0.01% to 100.10.

The People's Bank of China set the yuan mid-point at 6.8873 against the dollar on Friday, compared with the previous close of 6.9003.

Overnight, the dollar traded lower after the Federal Reserve failed to adopt a more aggressive outlook concerning the pace of rate hikes this year

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday, raised interest rates by 0.25% to a target range of 0.75% to 1% but kept its previous forecast of three rate increases this year unchanged, which disappointed investors, who expected four rate hikes in 2017. The dollar continued its move lower in the mid-afternoon session, after a mixed batch of economic data failed to halt the slide, as the greenback slumped to a five-week low.

Weekly initial jobless claims fell to 241,000. Housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.288 million in February while the Philadelphia Fed Index topped forecasts at 32.8 for March. Both the Philadelphia Fed Index and the housing starts beat forecasts.

The pound traded sharply higher against the dollar, hitting a two week high of $1.2373, after the Bank of England left interest rates unchanged but hinted that a rate hike could be in the pipeline.

Demand for the single currency soared, as far-right leader Geert Wilders was defeated in the Dutch parliamentary elections.