The U.S. Dollar Weakened Versus All Major Currencies
The U.S. dollar weakened versus all before Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen speaks to U.S. lawmakers.
Japan's financial markets are closed today for a holiday.
Asian shares: Japan's Nikkei close, Hong Kong's Hang Seng 1.78%, Korea's Kospi 0.46%, Australia's ASX 200 0.59% and China's Shanghai 0.84%.
Yellen will speak before Congress today for the first time since being sworn in as Fed chairman on Feb. 3.
The Bank of England has forecasters in suspense about how it will restore its "forward guidance" policy, according to a Reuters poll ahead of an expected revamp of the central bank's monetary policy centerpiece this week. A plunge in Britain's unemployment rate has forced the Bank to work on a revised plan. The poll showed little common ground among economists on its most likely approach. Bank Governor Mark Carney has conceded the Bank was wrong with its forecasts on unemployment and said it would begin the process of "evolving" its guidance in February to make sure Britain's recovery is given help to become more sustainable. The Reuters poll expect the Bank's new forecasts to show inflation will be weaker in the next two years than it previously projected.
Australia's dollar reached a four-week high after home prices and business sentiment climbed. The Aussie rose against all its major peers. The Aussie dollar cracked above the 90 level on the back of the business confidence data, and generally, sentiment for the currency is becoming less negative.
House prices in Australia surged 9.3 percent in the final quarter of 2013 from a year earlier, the biggest increase in more than three years. They rose 3.4 percent from the previous three-month period. Business confidence climbed in January for the first time in four month.
Australian policy makers see little evidence of a slump in China's economic growth, defying global pessimism that helped wipe $1.6 trillion from stocks this year. The Reserve Bank of Australia and the nation's Treasury forecast the world's second-largest economy will expand 7.5 percent this year. The view is underpinned by a 21 percent expansion in Australia-China trade to a record A$141.8 billion in 2013, led by shipments of iron ore.
China's gold consumption jumped 41 percent in 2013 to exceed 1,000 tonnes for the first time, as a sharp slide in prices attracted buyers for jewelers and bullion. The demand surge has helped China become the No. 1 gold consumer and should support prices, which took a hit last year from expectations of a tapering of commodities-friendly economic stimulus by the U.S.
Watch: US NFIB sentiment, store sales, job openings, Janet Yellen's inaugural address to Congress.
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