The yen strengthened against most counterparts while the Australian dollar pared gains after China reported an unexpected drop in imports and exports, fueling concern about demand for commodities.
The U.S. dollar slid to a five-month low versus a basket of peers before a Federal Reserve policy maker speaks after central-bank minutes undercut prospects for an increase in interest rates. The Aussie rose after employers added more than seven times as many jobs as forecast. New Zealand’s dollar touched its highest level since 2011.
“It’s surprising and disappointing to see that softness in China’s March trade numbers,” said Sean Callow, a currency strategist at Westpac Banking Corp. in Sydney. “It does look to be supportive for the safe-haven yen, and is a setback for risk-sensitive currencies” such as the Aussie and kiwi.
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