During European session on Thursday, the U.S. dollar showed mixed trading versus its major counterparts, amid economic reports. The dollar slipped to a near 3-week low versus the yen, but rose to a new multi-month high against the pound. Meanwhile, the dollar recovered against the euro and the franc.
A Labor Department report released today showed another unexpected increase in first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended February 20th.
The report revealed that initial jobless claims rose to 496,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 474,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to slip to 460,000 from the 473,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Orders for manufactured durable goods showed a much bigger than expected increase in the month of January, according to a report released by the Commerce Department Today, with the increase largely due to a substantial increase in orders for transportation equipment.
The report indicated that durable goods orders increased by 3.0 percent in January following an upwardly revised 1.9 percent increase in December. Economists had expected orders to increase by 1.5 percent compared to the 1.0 percent growth originally reported for the previous month.
Excluding a 15.6 percent increase in orders for transportation equipment, however, durable goods orders fell by 0.6 percent in January compared to a 2.0 percent increase in the previous month. The decrease surprised economists, who had expected 1.0 percent growth.
Against the yen, the U.S. dollar slipped to a near 3-week low of 89.07 at 8:30 am ET. As of now, the greenback-yen pair is trading at 89.12, compared to yesterday’s close of 90.18.
Rising up from a low of 1.3518 hit at 5:15 am ET, the dollar climbed to 1.3459 against the 16-nation currency at 8:30 am ET. The current quote for the euro-dollar pair is 1.3483, compared to yesterday’s close of 1.3540.
The dollar-franc pair, which steadily gathered momentum from a low of 1.0828 hit at 5:15 am ET, touched 1.0872 at 8:30 am ET. At present, the pair is worth 1.0586. This level may be compared to yesterday’s close of 1.0814.
The U.S. dollar rose to a new multi-month high of 1.5247 versus its British rival at 8:35 am ET. Presently, the pound-dollar pair is trading at 1.5258, compared to Wednesday’s close of 1.5408.
The Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested during a congressional hearing yesterday that U.S. low interest-rate policy is likely to be in place for the time being because the job market is weak and inflation will remain subdued. But he added the Fed will begin monetary tightening ”at some point” to stem inflationary pressures.