The dollar gained on the euro Thursday, as traders flocked to safe havens amid mounting concern that the U.S. and European economies are heading for a double-dip recession.
Global stocks were hammered following a report saying the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is intensifying its scrutiny of the U.S arms of many European banks, amid speculation the banks are facing funding difficulties.
Earlier this week, official data showed the euro zone economy, including powerhouse Germany, slowing to a crawl in the second quarter.
Today’s dismal economic news from the U.S. did nothing to alleviate anxieties.
U.S. existing home sales unexpectedly declined in July despite historically low interest rates and falling prices, as credit conditions remained tight, according to industry figures.
Total existing-home sales fell 3.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.67 million in July from an upwardly revised 4.84 million in June, data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed.
Manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia area plunged to its lowest in two years in August, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
And initial jobless claims rose to 408,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 399,000, the Labor Department said.
The dollar improved to $1.43 versus the euro, up two cents from yesterday’s lowest levels. The pair have been locked in a stalemate for months, with traders expressing little enthusiasm for either the dollar or euro.
Early gains took the dollar to within a penny of parity with its Canadian counterpart, as oil prices dropped sharply.
Meanwhile, the buck drifted toward last week’s record low of Y76.28 versus the yen, but again found support near 76.50.
The dollar eased to CHF 0.79 versus the Swiss franc, despite this week’s announcement from Swiss authorities that they will act to weaken the franc.
Morgan Stanley lowered the global growth outlook for this year to 3.9 percent from 4.2 percent. The projection for next year was cut to 3.8 percent from 4.5 percent.
The bank cited inadequate policy response, disappointing data and prospects of further fiscal tightening for the action.