Daily Afternoon Report 11/06/2015
The US dollar trimmed gains against a basket of other major currencies today after data showed that U.S. jobless claims rose slightly more than expected last week, while U.S. retail sales increased more than initially anticipated in May. The U.S. Department of Labor reported on Thursday that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending June 6 increased by 2,000 to 279,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 277,000. Separately, the U.S. Commerce Department said that retail sales increased by 1.2% last month, beating expectations for a gain of 1.1%. Retail sales rose by 0.2% in April, whose figure was revised up from a previously reported flat reading.
Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, rose by 1.0% in May, compared to forecasts for a 0.7% increase. Core sales in April increased by 0.1%. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was still up 0.66% at 95.19, after rising to 95.62 earlier in the session.
Elsewhere, the kiwi was hit after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand unexpectedly cut its benchmark interest rate to a record-low 3.25% from 3.50% today. It was the first time the central bank lowered rates since 2011. Commenting on the decision, RBNZ Governor Graeme Wheeler said the central bank has factored in another rate cut into its forecasts and is looking for a further fall in the local currency.