The dollar trimmed losses against the other major currencies on Thursday, after the release of better than expected U.S. jobless claims data, but the greenback still remained broadly lower as the British referendum on a potential exit from the European Union continued to dominate.
The U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefitsin the week ending June 18 declined by 18,000 to 259,000 from the previous week’s total of 277,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to fall by 7,000 to 270,000 last week.
GBP/USD was up 1.13% at fresh six-month highs of 1.4826 after after an opinion pollindicated that the remain campaign was leading in the Brexit vote.
The opinion poll, conducted by polling company Ipsos MORI for the Evening Standard newspaper, showed that 52% of voters wanted to remain in the EU, compared to 48% in favor of Leaving.
The pound had already strengthened after a YouGov poll for The Times newspaper on Wednesday showed that 51% of voters supported the campaign to remain in the EU, with 49% supporting Brexit, after a previous YouGov poll showing a lead for the campaign to leave.
A second poll, conducted by ComRes for the Daily Mail newspaper and ITV (LON:ITV) television showed the Remain campaign had a 48% to 42% lead over the Leave camp.
EUR/USD climbed 0.81% to 1.1388.
Earlier Thursday, research group Markit said Germany’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 54.4 in June from 52.1 the previous month, beating expectations for a downtick to 52.0.
Germany’s services PMI slipped to 53.2 this month from 55.2 in May.
Markit also said that the French manufacturing PMI fell to 47.9 in June from 48.4 the previous month, compared to expectations for a rise to 48.8.
France’s services PMI slipped to 49.9 this month from 51.6 in May.
Meanwhile, the euro zone composite PMI, which includes manufacturing and service sector activity, ticked down to 52.8 in June from 53.1 the previous month.
The dollar was higher against the yen, with USD/JPY up 1.32% at 105.79 and was lower against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF slipping 0.18% to 0.9570.
The Australian and New Zealand dollars were stronger, with AUD/USD up 0.97% at a nine-month high of 0.7571 and with NZD/USD advancing 0.88% to a 12-month peak of 0.7225.
Elsewhere, USD/CAD retreated 0.83% to trade at 1.2738, the lowest since June 10.
The commodity currencies were also boosted as oil prices rebounded from losses posted on Wednesday after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a smaller than expected fall in U.S. inventories last week.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.59% at 93.26, the lowest since May 6.