Daily Afternoon Report 16.04.2015

The dollar extended losses against a basket of other major currencies on Thursday, as the release of weak U.S. data fueled further uncertainty over the strength of the economy and the timing of a rate hike.

In a report, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending April 11 increased by 12,000 to 294,000 from the previous week’s total of 282,000.

Analysts had expected initial jobless claims to fall by 2,000 to 280,000 last week.

Separately, the U.S. Commerce Department said that the number of building permits issued in March declined by 5.7% last month to 1.039 million units from February’s total of 1.102 million. Analysts expected building permits to fall by 2.0% to 1.080 million units in March.

The report also showed that U.S. housing starts rose by 2.0% in March to hit 926,000 units from February’s total of 908,000 units, below expectations for an increase of 15.9% to 1.040 million.

EUR/USD climbed 0.60% to 1.0746.

Sentiment on the euro remained vulnerable however after the European Central Bank said Wednesday it expects to fully implement its trillion euro quantitative easing program.

ECB President Mario Draghi played down speculation that recent signs of a recovery in the eurozone economy could see the bank scale back its buying program. Draghi also played down concerns that the asset purchase program will struggle to find enough eurozone bonds to buy.

The pound was also higher, with GBP/USD gaining 0.49% to 1.4908.

Elsewhere, the dollar was steady against the yen, with USD/JPY at 119.14 and lower against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF shedding 0.20% to 0.9628.

In Switzerland, data earlier showed that producer prices rose 0.2% last month, beating expectations for a 0.1% uptick, after a 1.4% decline in February.

The Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian dollars remained broadly stronger, with AUD/USD jumping 1.22% to 0.7773 and NZD/USD gaining 0.59% to 0.7637, while USD/CAD edged 0.13% lower to trade at 1.2276.

The Aussie found support after official data showed that the number of employed people in Australia rose by 37,700 in March, exceeding expectations for an increase of 15,000. February’s figure was revised to a 41,900 gain from a previously estimated 15,600 rise.

The report also showed that Australia’s unemployment report ticked down to 6.1% last month from 6.2% in February, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated 6.3%. Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to remain at 6.3%.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release data on manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region.