U.S. dollar climbs vs. major currencies

The U.S. dollar strengthened moderately against most of major currencies Friday despite the worse-than-expected economic data from the world's largest economy.

U.S. retail sales declined 0.4 percent in March following a 1 percent gain in the previous month, the Commerce Department said Friday.

Moreover, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment in April declined to 72.3 from 78.6 in March.

Analysts generally expect the U.S. Federal Reserve would maintain its current asset-buying program and the ultra-low benchmark interest rates due to the disappointing economic data.

The depreciation of Japanese yen halted investors' profit- taking operations and stopped a speculation that it has fallen too far and too fast. The new Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda reiterated Friday that the central bank will take all necessary measures to boost inflation to the target of 2 percent.

The dollar advanced against the euro after reports said Cyprus would need more rescue funds than the package agreed last month, though president of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem dismissed the report later and said the size of the program won's change.

In late New York trading, the euro declined to 1.3079 dollars from 1.3112 dollars of the previous session and the British pound dropped to 1.5343 dollars from 1.5389 dollars. The Australian dollar fell to 1.0502 dollars from 1.0551 dollars.

The dollar bought 98.89 Japanese yen, lower than 99.91 in the previous session. It edged down to 0.9299 Swiss francs from 0.9305 Swiss francs and went up to 1.0138 Canadian dollars from 1.0107 Canadian dollars of the previous trading day.

Philippines News agency