Investing.com - Upbeat fourth-quarter economic growth rates
coupled with better-than-expected weekly jobless claims numbers in
the U.S. sent the dollar firming against most major currencies on
In U.S. trading on Thursday, EUR/USD was down 0.26% at
That latest of improving U.S. economic indicators kept
expectations firm that the Federal Reserve will wind down monthly
asset purchases this year and hike interest rates the next, which
strengthened the dollar on Thursday.
The Fed's asset-purchasing program, currently set at $55 billion
in Treasury and mortgage debt a month, weakens the dollar by
suppressing long-term interest rates to spur investing and
The Commerce Department reported earlier that U.S. gross
domestic product was revised up to 2.6% in the final three months
of 2013, from a preliminary estimate of 2.4%. Market expectations
had been for an upward revision to 2.7%.
Still, the report showed that personal spending was revised up
to 3.3% from 2.6% initially, the fastest rate of growth in three
years, which drew applause from investors.
Separately, the Labor Department said the number of individuals
filing for initial jobless benefits in the U.S. last week declined
by 10,000 to a 311,000 from the previous week's revised total of
Analysts were expecting jobless claims to rise by 4,000.
Thursday's data fueled already growing opinions that a spate of
disappointing economic indicators released earlier in the year were
the product of rough winter weather and not due to an underlying
decline in demand.
Investors shrugged off a National Association of Realtors report
revealing that its pending home sales index dropped by 0.8% last
month, disappointing expectations for a 0.3% gain.
Pending home sales for January were revised down to a 0.2%
decline from a previously reported gain of 0.1%.
Year-on-year, pending home sales fell at annualized rate of
10.2% in February, worse than expectations for a 8.5% decline,
after declining 9.3% in January.
Elsewhere, the euro came under pressure of its own on
expectations for ECB to loosen policy in the near future.
Earlier this week European Central Bank officials indicated that
they are considering fresh policy options to stave off the risk of
deflation in the region, including negative deposit rates or
The dollar was up against the yen, with USD/JPY up 0.10% at
102.16, and up against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF up 0.13% at
The greenback was down against the pound, with GBP/USD up 0.21%
The pound shot up against the dollar after the Office for
National Statistics revealed that U.K. retail sales rose 1.7% in
February, taking back most of January's 2.0% decline, and up 3.7%
from a year earlier.
Markets were expecting a 0.5% monthly increase a 2.5% on-year
Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, jumped 1.8%,
far outstripping forecasts for a 0.3% gain, after falling 2.0% in
The dollar was down against its cousins in Canada, Australia and
New Zealand, with USD/CAD down 0.64% at 1.1030, AUD/USD up 0.32% at
0.9256 and NZD/USD up 0.96% at 0.8672.
All three currencies rose after data revealed New Zealand's
trade surplus rose sharply in February.
The kiwi, the aussie and the loonie also received additional
boosts after a New Zealand central bank deputy governor indicated
that the monetary authority could remove measures to cool the
housing market, which would allow inflation to rise.
The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the
greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up
0.14% at 80.28.
On Friday, the U.S. is to round up the week with a report on
personal spending and revised data on consumer sentiment.
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