The dollar was virtually unchanged against its peers today following the release of varied US economic data and as oil posted new declines.  US existing home sales were up 0.4% from 5.45 million units in December to total 5.47 million units in January.  Experts forecast a 2.9% drop to total 5.32 million units in January.  The US consumer confidence index dropped to its lowest level in 7 months to a reading of 92.2 in February from 97.8 in January while experts forecast a decline to 97.0.  The US dollar index traded steadily at 97.39 near its 2.5 week high of 97.61 reached yesterday.   

The euro weakened against the dollar with the pair down 0.17% trading at 1.1012 off its session low of 1.0990 after having come off its session high of 1.1052 reached earlier in the day.  Data revealed that Germany’s Ifo Business Climate Index dropped from a reading of 107.3 in January to 105.7 in February marking its lowest level in 14 months.  Experts forecast the index to post a reading of 106.7 in February.  As the data raised concern over the state of Europe’s largest economy the euro traded below $1.10 for the first time in 3 weeks.  

The pound weakened against the dollar with the pair down roughly 0.8% trading at 1.4030 off its session low of 1.4011 after having come off its session high of 1.4155 reached earlier in the day.  The pound remained pressured to the downside amid the possibility Britain will no longer be a member of the European Union.  In testimony on the Bank of England’s inflation report bank governor Mark Carney stated that Britain’s exit would be handled in the same manner as any other political event.  The pound was pushed lower yesterday following remarks from London Mayor Boris Johnson supporting a campaign for Britain to leave the EU.  The pound and the euro remained vulnerable following sharp losses in yesterday’s session.   

The yen strengthened against the dollar with the pair down 0.75% trading at 112.07 off its session low of 111.77 after having come off its session high of 113.05 reached earlier in the day.  The yen was supported by an increase in safe haven demand as market sentiment deteriorated as oil prices dropped again and equity markets were pulled lower.  The yen rose to 2 week highs against the dollar as US crude futures tanked nearly 5% on the day.  The yen was also boosted by remarks from Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda which highlighted limitations of monetary policy with regards to growth and that merely increasing the rate of printing money will not raise hopes of price increases in the future.   

The Australian dollar held its ground while the New Zealand and Canadian dollars weakened against the greenback.  The Aussie was trading at 0.7218 against the dollar off the pair’s session low of 0.7200 after having come off its session high of 0.7259 reached earlier in the day.  The kiwi dollar retreated 0.40% against the greenback with the pair trading at 0.6673 off its session low of 0.6647 after having come off its session high of 0.6714 reached earlier in the day.  The loonie lost 0.53% against the greenback with the pair trading at 1.3780 off its session high of 1.3820 after having come off its session low of 1.3694 reached earlier in the day.  Commodity associated currencies were weighed down as oil was pressured to the downside on the back of remarks from Iran’s oil minister Bijan Zanganeh who described the deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia to halt output as being absurd.

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