Dollar gains on buoyant U.S. data, Ukraine in focus


Shutterstock photo - - The dollar traded largely higher against most major currencies on Friday after data revealed consumers in the U.S. are growing more confident, though fears the Ukraine crisis could escalate dampened the greenback's advance at times.

In U.S. trading on Friday, EUR/USD was down 0.32% at 1.3139.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan revised consumer sentiment index came in at 82.5 this month, up from a preliminary reading of 79.2 and exceeding expectations for a reading of 80.1.

July's final reading came in at 81.8, and the uptick in the final August reading bolstered the dollar by keeping expectations firm that the Federal Reserve will close stimulus programs around October and hike interest rates some time in 2015.

Separately, data revealed that the Chicago-area purchasing managers' index rose to 64.3 in August from 52.6 in July, beating expectations for an increase to 56.0.

On a less positive note, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that U.S. personal spending fell 0.1% last month, confounding expectations for a 0.2% rise, after an increase of 0.4% in June, though Friday's overall positive data coupled with upbeat reports from earlier this week reminded markets that the days of ultra-loose U.S. monetary policy that have weakened the greenback for years are coming to a close.

On Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that U.S. economy grew at a revised annualized rate of 4.2%, up from a preliminary estimate of 4.0% and better than market forecasts for a downward revision to 3.9%.

Meanwhile in Europe, preliminary data showed that euro zone consumer price index ticked down to an annualized rate of 0.3% this month from 0.4% in July, in line with expectations.

Core consumer price inflation, which excludes food, energy, alcohol, and tobacco, rose to 0.9% in August compared to a year earlier, from 0.8% in July.

Data also showed that the euro zone's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 11.5% last month.

Earlier Friday, official data showed that German retail sales declined 1.4% in July, disappointing expectations for a 0.1% rise, after a revised 1.0% gain in June.

Geopolitical issues softened the dollar albeit slightly.

Reports that Russian troops have entered Ukraine to assist pro-Moscow separatists have steered investors away from the greenback at times due to concerns that the conflict will dampen the global economy-especially if Russia sees fresh sanctions-and drag on U.S. recovery as a consequence.

The dollar was up against the yen, with USD/JPY up 0.31% at 104.05, and up against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF up 0.31% at 0.9180.

The greenback was down against the pound, with GBP/USD up 0.08% at 1.6600.

The dollar was up against its cousins in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with USD/CAD up 0.10% at 1.0872, AUD/USD down 0.17% at 0.9340 and NZD/USD down 0.26% at 0.8360.

The loonie saw some support of its own after Statistics Canada said the country's gross domestic product expanded by 0.3% in June, in line with expectations. Year-on-year, Canada's economy grew by 3.1% in June, beating expectations for a 2.7% expansion

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.26% at 82.74. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.
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This article appears in: Investing Forex and Currencies
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