The dollar was virtually unchanged today still close to 5 month plus lows against its peers following the release of favorable US jobless claims data as the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting minutes release continued to put downside pressure on the greenback. US jobless claims for last week dropped from the previous week’s total of 276,000 to a total of 267,000 while experts forecast a decline of 6,000 to total 270,000. Yesterday the FOMC’s meeting minutes revealed that the Fed most likely will not increase its key interest rate prior to June as a result of global economic growth uncertainty. The US dollar index traded steadily at 94.50 off its new 5 month plus low of 94.03 reached overnight.
The euro weakened against the dollar with the pair down 0.18% trading at 1.1380 off its session low of 1.1337 after having come off its session high of 1.1453 reached earlier in the day. The euro was pressured to the downside after European Central Bank officials reconfirmed their preparedness to ramp up additional stimulus if required. ECB President Mario Draghi cautioned that this year may prove to have many hurdles to overcome in the central bank’s annual report.
The pound weakened against the dollar with the pair down 0.39% trading at 1.4068 off its session low of 1.4048 after having come off its session high of 1.4156 reached earlier in the day. Data released out of the UK revealed that the Halifax house price index climbed 2.6% in March ahead of forecasts for an increase of 0.7% following a decline of 1.5% in February.
The yen strengthened against the dollar with the pair down 1.48% trading at 108.16 off its session low of 107.66 after having come off its session high of 109.90 reached earlier in the day. The yen was boosted to new 17 month highs after Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda announced that if necessary the central bank will introduce additional stimulus measures by expanding its asset purchase program or by reducing its deposit rate further into negative territory or by implementing both.
The Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars weakened against the greenback as commodity associated currencies were pressured to the downside as oil prices extended losses falling 2% to trade at $37 per barrel. Data revealed that a key pipeline shutdown was unsuccessful in lowering crude flows to the US storage base by as much as forecast. The Aussie dollar tanked against the greenback with the pair down 1.20% trading at 0.7506 off its session low of 0.7491 after having come off its session high of 0.7637 reached earlier in the day. The kiwi dollar slid 0.72% against the greenback with the pair trading at 0.6775 off its session low of 0.6762 after having come off its session high of 0.6862 reached earlier in the day. The loonie retreated 0.46% trading at 1.3152 off its session high of 1.3180 after having come off its session low of 1.3018 reached earlier in the day. The loonie garnered some support on the back of data which revealed that Canadian building permits rose by 15.5% in February well beyond forecasts for an increase of 4.8%.
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