The dollar jumped against the yen after data showed U.S. housing starts rose more than expected in April, offering optimism that the sluggish housing sector would start recovering.
According to a report by the U.S Commerce Department, housing starts rose 2.6 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 717,000 units. March’s starts were revised up to a 699,000-unit pace from a previously reported 654,000 unit rate.
A separate report released a little later showed manufacturing demand and output still seems to be expanding at a moderate pace in the U.S.
Industrial production rose more than expected in April, driven by auto manufacturing and utility use. Data show an increase of 1.1 percent, which is the most since December 2010, after a 0.6 percent decline in March that was revised from no change. The forecast was for a drop of 0.6 percent in April’s number.
USDJPY hit a high of 80.54, the highest since May 2 after the housing report.