The dollar was mixed in quiet dealing Thursday, holding most of its recent gains versus the euro while coming under pressure against the resurgent yen.
A week’s worth of economic data was crammed into the final session before Wall Street’s Christmas break, but with many traders away from their desks, activity was subdued in the currency markets.
A largely disappointing batch of news on the economic front kept the dollar from sustaining its strength against the euro and sterling. And with Japan’s economic prospects less grim than once feared, the yen has become a fashionable safe haven alternative.
The dollar touched a fresh 3-week high of $1.3054 against the euro, but eased back to $1.3130 by mid-day.
Amid concerns about the rising cost associated with propping up Ireland’s banking sector, Ireland’s government said on Thursday that it would inject 3.7 billion euros ($4.85 billion) into beleaguered Allied Irish Banks.
The dollar was unable to extend its 3-month peak of $1.5354 versus the sterling, hovering near $1.5425 for most of Thursday’s session.
Meanwhile, the dollar dipped to Y82.90 versus the yen, staying near a 15-year low of 80.22.
Looking at today’s economic data from the US, new home sales in the U.S. showed a notable increase in the month of November, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday, although sales came in below economist estimates due in part to a downward revision to October sales.
The report showed that new home sales rose 5.5 percent to an annual rate of 290,000 in November from the revised October rate of 275,000.
The Commerce Department said U.S. personal spending increased by 0.4 percent in November after an upwardly revised 0.7 percent increase in the previous month.
Meanwhile, applications for jobless insurance payments fell by only 3,000 to 420,000 in the week ending December 18, according to data released by the Department of Labor Thursday morning.