Daily Afternoon Report 09.02.2017

The dollar moved higher against other major currencies on Thursday, helped by the release of upbeat U.S. jobless claims data, although ongoing political uncertainty in the U.S. and Europe limited gains.

EUR/USD slipped 0.16% to 1.0681.

The U.S. Department of Labor said initial jobless claims decreased by 12,000 to 234,000 in the week ending February 4 from the previous week’s total of 246,000.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 4,000 to 250,000 last week.

But sentiment on the greenback remained vulnerable amid concerns over U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist stance and recent hints from the new administration that it would prefer a weaker dollar.

On the other hand, the euro remained under pressure amid concerns over the possibility of a Brexit or Trump-style shock result in France’s upcoming presidential election.

Worries over elections in the Netherlands, Germany and possibly Italy, as well as the ongoing row over Greece’s bailout added to concerns over political risk in the euro area.

Elsewhere, GBP/USD edged up 0.15% to trade at 1.2559.

USD/JPY gained 0.44% to 112.43, while USD/CHF advanced 0.41% to 0.9996.

The Australian dollar remained higher, with AUD/USD up 0.10% at 0.7653, while NZD/USD dropped 0.65% to 0.7217.

In a widely expected move, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand held the benchmark interest rate at a record-low 1.75% at the end of its policy meeting on Thursday.

Commenting on the decision, RBNZ Governor Graemme Wheeler said any tightening in monetary policy might be at least two years away, adding “we’re happy with the track that we have.”

Also Thursday, the National Australia Bank said its business confidence index ticked down to 5 in the fourth quarter from a reading of 6 in the third quarter, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated reading of 5.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD slipped 0.23% to trade at 1.3114.

Statistics Canada reported that new housing price inflation rose 0.1% in December, disappointing expectations for an increase of 0.2% and following a 0.2% gain the previous month.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.18% at 100.32, not far from Tuesday’s one-week high of 100.69.