China's yuan tumbled 0.20% against the dollar, hitting its lowest in four and a half years at $6.4506, after China's central bank lowered its guiding midpoint to the lowest in more than four years. The gradual depreciation of the yuan risks destabilizing other currencies, in a war for the cheapest exporter through the cheapest currency.
On the other side of the ocean, the Canadian dollar slid to a new 11 and a half year low at C$1.3648, losing 0.17% for the day. The loonie faces great pressures from the rout in oil prices, upon which a large chunk of the Canadian economy depends. Australian dollar on the other hand gave up some of its gains, down 0.43% to $0.7250, after rallying to $0.7336 earlier in the week on the back of the lowest unemployment rate in 19 months.
Oil prices dipped to fresh 7-year lows, as worries over the supply glut in the markets intensify, with Brent futures skidding 11 cents, or 0.28% to $39.44 per barrel, while U.S. crude futures shed 27 cents, or 0.72% to $36.50 a barrel.
Yen trimmed its profits, giving up 0.41% against the dollar to 122.09. It fell a similar 0.41% against the euro to 133.55, while touching a two-day low against sterling at 184.84, with a 0.28% loss.
The weakness of the yen helped Japan's stocks index Nikkei to rise 1.0%, snapping a three-day losing streak, as the currency depreciation helps exporters, but the index was still on track for a weekly loss of 2.56%. Other Asian shares were down for the day-and the week-, as investors get jittery around riskier assets due to the fall in commodities and a widely expected rate hike from the Fed next week. China's CSI300 slid 0.90%, while Australia's slipped 0.16%. Korea's KOSPI edged down 0.27%, while India's Nifty gave up 0.16%.
A bunch of important data is awaited from the U.S. today, most notably, retail sales for November, forecast to have grown 0.3% m\m, accelerating from October's growth of 0.1%; while the producer price index PPI for November is expected to have fallen 0.1% m\m, deepening October's drop of 0.4%. The dollar is expected to remain supported no matter the results however, as an expected gradual increase of interest rates in the near future gives it a steady foot.
Another U.S. piece of data, university of Michigan's preliminary consumer sentiment survey, forecast at 91.0. The higher the result is the better for the dollar.