US dollar falls amid thin trading 

New York, Dec 22 (IANS) The US dollar declined against most major currencies amid thin trading in holiday season.

In late New York trading on Monday, the euro increased to $1.0921 from $1.0862 in the previous session, Xinhua reported. The Australian dollar rose to $0.7187 from $0.7186.

The US dollar bought 121.05 Japanese yen, lower than 121.28 yen of the previous session. The US dollar fell to 0.9919 Swiss franc from 0.9928 Swiss franc, and it went up to 1.3964 Canadian dollars from 1.3928 Canadian dollars.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, was down 0.33 percent at 98.375 in late trading.

With no major data coming out of the country on Monday, the US dollar retreated from its two-week highs at the beginning of a shortened trading week when the US and most European markets will close on Friday for Christmas.

Tokyo shares open mixed

Tokyo shares opened the trading on Tuesday mixed with no clear purchasing cues after the market digested policy moves by the Japanese and US central banks.

At 9.15 a.m. (local time), the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average inched down 25.23 points, or 0.13 percent, from Monday to 18,890.79, Xinhua reported.

However, the broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange edged up 1.08 points, or 0.07 percent, to 1,532.36.

Chinese shares open higher
Chinese stocks opened higher on Tuesday, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index up 0.1 percent to open at 3,645.99 points.

The smaller Shenzhen index opened 0.28 percent higher at 13,064.69 points, Xinhua reported.

The ChiNext Index, tracking China’s NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, gained 0.25 percent to open at 2,836.96 points.

Japan’s economy to grow 1.7 percent in 2016

Japan’s economy, the third largest in the world, would grow about 1.7 percent in real terms in fiscal 2016 starting April, according to Tuesday’s government forecast.

Japan’s gross domestic product, in nominal terms, will likely expand around 3.1 percent in the next fiscal year to around $4.3 trillion, Xinhua cited the forecast, led by recovering consumer spending and capital investment, as reporting on Tuesday.

The projected GDP level will surpass the level before the financial crisis triggered by the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and will be the highest level in 19 years since fiscal 1997, according to the report.

The planned consumption tax hike from eight percent to 10 percent in April 2017 would help the overall growth increase by around 0.3 percent due to demand increase ahead of the tax hike.

The recently compiled extra budget for the improvement of welfare services and farm sector’s competitiveness would also boost the country’s GDP by about 0.4 percent in fiscal 2016, according to the projection.

However, the government forecast was more optimistic than that of the Bank of Japan, the central bank here, which estimated real GDP growth of 1.4 percent for the reporting fiscal year.

Affected by the declining crude oil prices, the government also said that inflation rate would rise to 1.2 percent in fiscal 2016, a read short of the two percent target raised by the central bank to fight against Japan’s prolonged deflation.

The government said that the Japanese economy is expected to grow 1.2 percent in the current fiscal year, downgraded from a previous estimate of 1.5 percent.

The government also warned that capital outflows from emerging markets would be downside risks after the US Federal Reserve has decided to raise interest rates.

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