Dollar gains on hopes for solid U.S. jobs data


Shutterstock photo - - The dollar strengthened against most major currencies on Thursday as investors bet Friday's July jobs report will come in solid and paint a picture of a more robust U.S. economy.

In U.S. trading on Thursday, EUR/USD was down 0.05% at 1.3389.

The Labor Department on Friday will release its July nonfarm payrolls report, and consensus forecasts see the U.S. economy picking up 230,000 new jobs.

Even if the figure comes in below that number, a reading over 200,000 would represent six straight months of beating that threshold, a sign the labor market is improving even if it's still a little slack.

Earlier Thursday, the Labor Department reported that the number of individuals filing for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week rose by 23,000 to 302,000 from the previous week's total of 279,000. Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 22,000 to 301,000.

The Labor Department added that the employment cost index rose by 0.7% in the three months to June after a 0.3% increase in the first quarter. Economists had expected a 0.5% gain.

The dollar continued to see support from Thursday's U.S. gross domestic product report.

The U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 4.0% in the three months to June, blowing past forecasts for a 3.0% reading, according to the Commerce Department. The contraction in the first quarter was revised to 2.1% from a previously reported 2.9%.

Personal consumption grew 2.5%, well above predictions of 1.9%.

Separately, market research group Kingsbury International said earlier that its Chicago purchasing managers' index fell by 10.0 points to 52.6 in July from 62.6 in June. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 63.0 in July.

Capping the dollar's advance, however, were concerns that ongoing U.S.-European tensions with Russia over Ukraine will dampen global recovery, which could prompt central banks around the world to keep monetary policies loose for longer than once anticipated.

Meanwhile across the Atlantic, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, revealed that the euro area's consumer price index slowed to a five-year low of 0.4% in July from 0.5% in June, missing expectations for an unchanged reading.

The inflation rate fueled expectations for the European Central Bank to implement further stimulus measures to shore up growth and stave off deflationary pressures in the currency bloc.

A separate report showed that the unemployment rate across the euro area fell to 11.5% in June from 11.6% last month. It was the lowest rate since September 2012.

The dollar was up against the yen, with USD/JPY up 0.05% at 102.87, and up against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF up 0.02% at 0.9088.

The greenback was up against the pound, with GBP/USD down 0.17% at 1.6884.

In the U.K. earlier, the Nationwide Building Society reported that property values rose 0.1% in July from June, missing market calls for a 0.5% reading, which softened the pound.

Property values rose 10.6% on year in July, below expectations for a reading of 11.3%

The dollar was mixed against its cousins in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with USD/CAD unchanged at 1.0901, AUD/USD down 0.39% at 0.9294 and NZD/USD up 0.06% at 0.8496.

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.05% at 81.54.

On Friday, markets will move on the U.S. nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment reports, while the Institute of Supply Management is to release data on manufacturing activity. 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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