Daily Afternoon Report 20.04.2017

The dollar trimmed losses against other major currencies on Thursday, but remained under pressure after the release of downbeat U.S. economic reports and as geopolitical tensions around the world continued to weigh.

EUR/USD was up 0.36% at 1.0750, just off a three-and-a-half week high of 1.0776 hit overnight.

The U.S. Department of Labor said initial jobless claims increased by 10,000 in the week ending April 15 to 244,000 from the previous week’s total of 234,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to rise by 8,000 to 242,000 last week.

In addition, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said its manufacturing index fell to 22.0 this month from March’s reading of 32.8. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 25.0.

Meanwhile, sentiment on the greenback remained vulnerable after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday that the U.S. was looking at ways to pressure North Korea over its nuclear program.

The comments came after North Korean state media warned the Americans of a “super-mighty pre-emptive strike” and said don’t “mess with us.”

Separately, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, who heads Japan for a newly-created bilateral economic dialogue with the U.S., said on Wednesday that Japan has less room to compromise with Washington under a bilateral trade deal.

Market participants were also focusing on the upcoming French presidential election, with the first round voting scheduled on Sunday April 23.

Recent polls in France showed that Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron is still in the lead, although the outcome of Sunday’s vote is still too close to call.

The GBP/USD gained 0.25% to 1.2807, not far from Tuesday’s six-month peak of 1.2904.

Sterling remained supported after the British Parliament on Wednesday approved by an overwhelming 522 votes against 13 May’s call for an early election, setting the stage what will define the terms of the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union.

USD/JPY added 0.16% to trade at 109.03, while USD/CHF slid 0.28% to 0.9954.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars remained stronger, with AUD/USD up 0.37% at 0.7526 and with NZD/USD gaining 0.26% to 0.7022.

Earlier Thursday, Statistics New Zealand said the consumer price index increased by 1.0% in the first quarter, beating expectations for a 0.8% rise and after a 0.4% gain in the three months to December.

Year-on-year, consumer prices advanced 2.2% in the last quarter, exceeding expectations for an increase of 2.0%.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD held steady at 1.3485, after hitting a five-week high of 1.3495 earlier in the day.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.35% at 99.35, the lowest since March 28.