The dollar trimmed against the other major currencies on Thursday, after data showed that U.S. jobless claims rose more than expected last week and as investors still awaited the release of U.S. manufacturing data due later in the day.
The dollar turned lower against the yen, with USD/JPY down 0.15% at 119.70.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending September 26 increased by 10,000 to 277,000 from the previous week’s total of 267,000, compared to expectations for a 3,000 rise.
Investors were turning their attention to Friday’s U.S. jobs report for September, which could help to provide clarity on the likelihood of a near-term interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve.
Separately, markets were jittery after two surveys of China’s manufacturing sector earlier showed that factory activity continued to slow in September, adding to fears over the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy.
China’s Caixin manufacturing index fell to 47.2 in September from 47.3 in August, the fastest contraction since March 2009.
The official manufacturing index ticked up to 49.8, up from 49.7 in August, but remained in contraction territory.
The dollar remained higher against the euro, with EUR/USD down 0.15% to 1.1161.
Earlier Thursday, research group Markit said that Germany’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell to 52.3 last month from 52.5 in August. France’s manufacturing PMI ticked up to 50.6 in September from 50.4 the previous month.
Markit also reported that its manufacturing PMI for the entire eurozone came out at 52.0 in September, in line with expectations.
Elsewhere, the dollar moved lower against the pound, with GBP/USD adding 0.10% to 1.5144, and was higher against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF gaining 0.51% to 0.9777.
Markit reported on Thursday that its U.K. manufacturing PMI eased to 51.5 in September from a revised reading of 51.6 in August. Economists had expected the index to tick up to 51.3.
In Switzerland, data earlier showed that retail sales fell 0.3% in August on a yearly basis, compared to expectations for a 0.3% rise and after a revised 0.1% gain in July.
The Australian and New Zealand dollars were stronger, with AUD/USD up 0.69% to 0.7068 and with NZD/USD climbing 0.53% to 0.6431.
Meanwhile, USD/CAD slid 0.35% to trade at 1.3275.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 96.44, down from highs of 96.64 hit earlier in the day.