Daily Afternoon Report 17.09.2015

The dollar remained moderately lower against the other major currencies on Thursday, even after data showed that U.S. jobless claims fell more than expected last week, as sentiment on the greenback remained vulnerable ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy statement.

The dollar was higher against the yen, with USD/JPY up 0.31% at 120.92.

The Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending September 12 decreased by 11,000 to 264,000 from the previous week’s total of 275,000.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to remain unchanged last week.

Investors were eyeing the conclusion of the Fed policy-setting meeting later in the day amid uncertainty over whether the Fed would hike short-term interest rates for the first time in almost a decade.

An increase in interest rates would boost the greenback by making it more attractive to yield-seeking investors.

The dollar was lower against the euro, with EUR/USD up 0.31% to 1.1327.

Elsewhere, the dollar was lower against the pound and the Swiss franc, with GBP/USD up 0.17% at 1.5507 and with USD/CHF sliding 0.42% to 0.9673.

The Office for National Statistics earlier reported that U.K. retail sales increased by 0.2% last month, in line with forecasts.

Retail sales were up 3.7% from the same month a year earlier, slightly short of expectations for a 3.8% increase.

Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, rose 0.1% last month and were up 3.5% on a year-over-year basis.

Also Thursday, the Swiss National Bank held its benchmark interest rate unchanged at -0.75%, in line with expectations.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were weaker, with AUD/USD down 0.48% to 0.7163 and with NZD/USD declining 0.39% to 0.6341.

Statistics New Zealand reported on Thursday that the country’s gross domestic product rose 0.4% in the second quarter, confounding expectations for a 0.5% increase.

On a yearly basis, New Zealand’s GDP increased by 2.4% in the second quarter, below expectations for a 2.5% gain.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD edged up 0.18% to trade at 1.3197.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.22% at 95.30.