The dollar is rebounding from some early weakness against its major European competitors on Friday and is maintaining its gains against the Japanese Yen. Equity markets in Europe reopened today, following a 2-day holiday for Christmas, but trading volume remained light. That trend is likely to continue into the next week, with the upcoming New Year’s holiday.
Reflecting the volatility seen during the holiday season, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing a steep drop in initial jobless claims in the week ended December 21st following the sharp jump seen earlier in the month.
The report said initial jobless claims tumbled to 338,000, a decrease of 42,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 380,000. Economists had expected claims to drop to 340,000 from the 379,000 originally reported for the previous week.
The dollar sank to over a 2-year low of $1.3892 against the Euro on Friday, but has since rebounded to around $1.3775.
France’s producer prices in November decreased less-than-expected from a year ago, data released by the statistical office INSEE showed on Friday. The producer price index for the French market declined 0.6 percent year-on-year. Economists had expected a 1.2 percent slump.
Month-on-month, domestic market product prices rose 0.5 percent in November, defying economists’ expectations for a 0.1 percent drop. The increase came after October’s revised 0.3 percent decline.
French jobless claims rose in November, following a surprise fall in the previous month, raising doubts regarding the achievement of President Francois Hollande’s aim of brining down unemployment this year.
The number of Class A registered job seekers totaled 3.293 million in November, up 0.5 percent or by 17,800 persons from the end of October, data from the Labor Ministry showed late Thursday. The figure rose 5.6 percent from a year ago.
The greenback also dropped to over a 2-year low of $1.6577 against the pound sterling on Friday, but has since bounced back to around $1.6490.
The buck dipped to an early low of Y104.60 against the Japanese Yen on Friday, but has since climbed back to around Y104.975, near yesterday’s session high.
Consumer prices in Japan added 1.5 percent on year in November, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday, which was in line with expectations and up from 1.1 percent in October.
The Japanese manufacturing sector grew at the sharpest pace in nearly seven-and-half years in December, supported by strong growth in new business and production, data from a survey conducted by Markit Economics and the Japan Materials Management Association (JMMA) revealed.
The seasonally adjusted manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) moved up to 55.2 in December from 55.1 in November, marking the biggest improvement in operating conditions since July 2006.
Industrial production in Japan was up a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent in November compared to the previous month, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in Friday’s preliminary reading, rising for the third straight month. The headline figure missed forecasts for an increase of 0.4 percent following the 1.0 percent gain in October.
Retail sales in Japan climbed 4.0 percent on year in November, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Friday, coming in at 11.580 trillion yen. That beat forecasts for an increase of 3.0 percent following the 2.4 percent gain in October.
The unemployment rate in Japan came in at a seasonally adjusted 4.0 percent in November, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday, which was unchanged from the previous month but missing forecasts for 3.9 percent.