Daily Afternoon Report 04.06.2015

The dollar trimmed losses against a basket of other major currencies on Thursday, after data showed that the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week fell more than expected. In a report, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending May 30 declined by 8,000 to 276,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 284,000. Analysts had expected initial jobless claims to fall by 5,000 to 279,000 last week. The report came after data on Wednesday showed that the U.S. private sector added 201,000 jobs last month, slightly ahead of expectations for 200,000 indicating that the recovery in the labor market is on track. Investors were looking ahead to Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report for further indications on the strength of the U.S. job market. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.15% at 95.21, off two-week lows of 94.68 hit earlier in the session. EUR/USD was up 0.19% to 1.1297, after rising to two-and-a-half week highs of 1.1380 earlier. The euro was boosted as German 10-year bund yields jumped to their highest level since September, narrowing the gap with their U.S. counterparts. German bund yields act as benchmarks for European financial markets and higher yields push the euro higher against the dollar. Yields rise as prices fall. Speaking after the European Central Bank voted to keep interest rates on hold at a record low on Wednesday, Mario Draghi said markets should get used to periods of higher volatility in European bond markets, which he said won’t affect monetary policy decisions. The ECB also revised up its inflation forecast for this year to 0.3% from zero previously and said that inflation rates were expected to pick up further during 2016 and 2017. However, sentiment on the single currency remained vulnerable after talks between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels late Wednesday ended without an agreement to unlock more financial aid before the country runs out of money. GBP/USD added 0.24% to 1.5378 after. The yen was steady, with USD/JPY at 124.27, while USD/CHF edged down 0.10% to 0.9331. The Australian dollar and New Zealand dollars were weaker, with AUD/USD down 0.78% to 0.7725 and with NZD/USD slipping 0.17% to 0.7140. Earlier Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that retail sales were flat in April, disappointing expectations for a 0.4% rise. A separate report showed that Australia’s trade deficit widened to A$3.88 billion in April from A$1.23 billion in March. Meanwhile, USD/CAD edged 0.15% higher to trade at 1.2471.