Investing.com – The Australian and New Zealand dollars edged lower against their U.S. counterpart on Thursday, after the release of downbeat Australian economic reports, while sentiment on the greenback remained vulnerable.
AUD/USD slipped 0.20% to 0.7985.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics said that retail sales were flat in July, confounding expectations for a 0.3% rise. Retail sales increased by 0.2% in June, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated 0.3% gain.
A separate report showed that Australia’s trade surplus narrowed to A$460,000 in July from A$888.000 in June, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated surplus of A$856,000.
Analysts had expected the trade surplus to hit A$875,000 in July.
NZD/USD fell 0.21% to trade at 0.7182.
Sentiment on the greenback remained fragile after the Institute of Supply Management reported on Wednesday that U.S. service sector activity increased slightly less than expected in August.
The greenback was already under pressure since Federal Reserve official Lael Brainard said on Tuesday that the central bank should delay raising interest rates until it is confident inflation that is now “well short” of target will rebound.
On a more positive note, U.S. President Donald Trump concluded a surprise deal with Democrats in Congress to extend the debt ceiling.
If passed by the Republican-led Congress, the agreement would provide government funding until December 15, potentially avoiding an unprecedented default on U.S. government debt.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 92.23 by 02:10 a.m. ET (06:10 GMT).