The dollar held steady close to three-week lows against the other majors currencies on Thursday, after the release of disappointing U.S. service sector activity data and amid mounting uncertainty over the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections.
The Institute of Supply Management said its non-manufacturing purchasing manager’s index fell to 57.1 last month from 57.1 in September. Analysts had expected the index to decrease to 56.0.
The report came shortly after the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending October 29 increased by 7,000 to 265,000 from the previous week’s total of 258,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to hold steady at 258,000 last week.
Meanwhile, investors remained cautious after the FBI said last Friday that it would review more emails related to Hillary Clinton’s private email use while she was secretary of state.
The news sparked fresh uncertainty over Mrs. Clinton’s election prospects ahead of the November 8 vote, amid fears over the implications of a victory for Republican candidate Donald Trump.
The pound found support after the Bank of England voted to leave interest rates on hold, at the current record low of 0.25%. The MPC also left the quantitative easing program unchanged, at £425 billion
Earlier Thursday, the UK high court ruled that the government does not have the authority to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to start the UK’s exit from the EU without a parliamentary vote.
In addition, research group Markit said its U.K. services PMI rose to 54.5 in October from September’s 52.6. Economists had expected the index to tick down to 52.4.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported on Thursday that the trade deficit narrowed to A$1.227 billion in September from A$1.894 billion in August, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated deficit of A$2.010 billion.
Analysts had expected the trade deficit to narrow to A$1.700 billion.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 97.44, just off a three-week low of 97.08 hit earlier in the session.