13 April 2011, 17:22  U.S. dollar index falls

The U.S. dollar index erased early gains to trade near unchanged Wednesday, but the greenback held modest gains against the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc as traders awaited March retail-sales figures. The dollar index (DXY 74.83, -0.03, -0.04%) , which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of six other currencies, traded at 74.849 Wednesday, little changed from 74.847 in late North American action Tuesday.
was lately at $1.4505, up from $1.4489 in late North American trading Tuesday.
Helping to cap the 17-nation shared currency, euro-zone industrial orders rose 0.4% in February versus expectations for a 0.8% increase, although the data’s lasting impact is likely to be minor, given that the figures are two months old, said Boris Schlossberg, head of currency research at GFT, in emailed comments. The euro continued to struggle to push past nearly 15-month highs above $1.4500.
That gain marked a reversal from Tuesday’s session, when the yen gained ground after Japan raised its assessment of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-plant crisis to the same level as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and the highest level on an international scale.
Currency strategists at BNP Paribas said that concerns about the upgrade of the nuclear crisis triggered an unwinding of Japanese yen short positions. Still, they said the rationale for a weaker yen remains strong, “given the likelihood that the Bank of Japan will employ further easing measures.”
The Japanese government downgraded its economic forecasts Wednesday to reflect last month’s events, with exports and consumption among the areas seen as hardest hit. See report on downgrade to Japan’s economic outlook.

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