The Chinese yuan and the Aussie dollar slid against the U.S. dollar on Friday in Asia after a private survey showed Chinese manufacturing activity contracted again.

The USD/CNY pair jumped 0.6% to 6.7314 by 12:16 AM ET (05:16 GMT).

The Caixin/Markit index of manufacturing fell to 48.3, its lowest since February 2016, from 49.7 last month. The reading underperformed the expected 49.5 and was more downbeat than the official version of the index released yesterday.

The National Bureau of Statistics reported on Thursday that the official PMI came in at 49.5. The reading was slightly higher than the 49.4 in December, but it also suggested activity in China’s manufacturing sector shrunk for the second straight month.

The Australian dollar, widely considered as a barometer for risk appetite, was also down against the U.S. dollar. The AUD/USD pair last traded at 0.7239, down 0.5%.

The U.S. dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies was little changed at 95.352. Earlier this week, the U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates steady as expected and noted that it would be “patient” in future rate hikes.

Traders are also closely watching the development on the Sino-U.S. trade front after U.S. President Donald Trump said the negotiations were going well and that he and China’s Xi Jinping might meet “in the near future” to finalise details of a possible trade deal.

High-level Chinese and U.S. officials ended a two-day trade discussions today. Following the conclusion of the meeting, Xinhua reported that China agreed to increase imports of “US agricultural products, energy products, industrial manufactured goods and service products” during the talks.

Elsewhere, the USD/JPY pair was trading near flat at 108.88.


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