The dollar is attempting to rebound Thursday afternoon from a decline that began after the Federal Reserve concluded its monetary policy meeting yesterday afternoon. The U.S. currency had been weakening since the release of what has been deemed a dovish statement by the central bank.
Meanwhile, investors continue to keep an eye on the situation in Greece. Eurozone finance minister are holding a meeting today to further discuss the country’s debt problems.
Despite a modest improvement in the economic outlook, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday offered no explicit guidance indicating that it will soon raise interest rates from zero. As expected, the Fed kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged near zero, where it has been since 2008.
Many market watchers thought the Fed would lay further groundwork for a rate hike as soon as September, but policy makers remain reluctant to tip their hand even though economic activity seems to be picking up after a second consecutive rough winter.
The central bank’s forecasts reinforced the view that the eventual increase in rates will be gradual. Tame consumer price inflation data also generated some optimism about the outlook for rates in light of the Fed’s insistence that it will be data dependent.
In another upbeat sign for the U.S. labor market, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing a bigger than expected decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended June 13th. The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell to 267,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 279,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 275,000.
While the Commerce Department released a report on Thursday showing a substantial increase in energy prices in the month of May, the report said overall consumer prices in the U.S. rose by slightly less than economists had expected.
The Labor Department said its consumer price index climbed by 0.4 percent in May after inching up by 0.1 percent in April. The increase by the index reflected the largest monthly gain since February of 2013, but it was still slightly smaller than 0.5 percent increase expected by economists.
Manufacturing conditions in the Philadelphia region have improved in June, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on Thursday. The Philly Fed said its diffusion index of current activity jumped to 15.2 in June from 6.7 in May, with a positive reading indicating growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 8.0.
Confirming the outlook for more economic expansion in the second half of the year, the Conference Board released a report on Thursday showing another notable increase by its index of leading U.S. economic indicators. The Conference Board said its leading economic index climbed by 0.7 percent in May, matching the increase seen in April. Economists had expected the index to rise by 0.4 percent.
A fourth offering of long-term loans from the European Central Bank witnessed healthy demand from euro area banks, though it may not be a prelude to sharper growth in lending.
Banks took EUR 73.78 billion of long-term loans in the ECB’s Targeted Longer Term Refinancing Operation, or TLTRO, on Thursday. Economists had expected a take-up between EUR 60 billion – EUR 75 billion.
The allotment was full at a fixed rate of 0.05 percent to 128 banks. The loans mature on September 26, 2018.
In the previous round held in March, 143 banks took EUR 97.8 billion. The total funds on offer under eight TLTRO operations are EUR 400 billion and banks have borrowed about EUR 384 billion thus far.
The dollar dropped to a 1-month low of $1.1436 against the Euro Thursday, but has since bounced back to around $1.1370.
Eurozone’s labor costs grew sharply in the first quarter at the fastest pace in more than three years, data from Eurostat revealed Thursday. Hourly labor costs grew 2.2 percent annually in the three months to January, following 1.2 percent increase in the previous quarter. It was the fastest rate of growth since the second quarter of 2011, when costs rose 2.5 percent.
The buck sank to nearly a 7-month low of $1.5929 against the pound sterling Thursday, but has since rebounded to around $1.5865.
U.K. retail sales increased unexpectedly in May as low inflation and strong pay growth underpinned consumer spending. Retail sales including auto fuel rose 0.2 percent in May from April when it climbed 0.9 percent, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Thursday. Although the monthly growth eased from April, this was the second consecutive rise and came in contrast to a 0.1 percent fall forecast by economists.
The greenback fell to a 1-week low of Y122.544 against the Japanese Yen Thursday, but has since climbed back to around Y123.020.
Japan’s total labor cash earnings increased at a slower-than initially expected rate in April after remaining unchanged in the previous month, a final report from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare showed Thursday.
Total earnings rose 0.7 percent year-on-year in April to JPY 273,873, slower than the preliminary estimate of 0.9 percent. April’s growth was the highest thus far this year. In March, labor cash earnings remained stable.