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Markets

Dollar perched at 1-week highs before US jobless data

Economists forecast US weekly jobless claims of 5.1 million, lifting total filings during the crisis above 20 milli
16 Apr 2020
  • Economists forecast US weekly jobless claims of 5.1 million, lifting total filings during the crisis above 20 million.
  • Dire US retail and factory data and a nosedive in oil prices to 18-year lows on Wednesday strengthened the dollar across the board.
  • The yen weakened 0.2pc against the dollar, as media reports suggested Japan was preparing to extend a state of emergency beyond major cities to the entire nation.

LONDON: The dollar consolidated its gains against other currencies on Thursday before the release of weekly US jobless data likely to provide more evidence of the world's biggest economy hurtling into a deep recession.

The dollar rose 0.2pc to 99.808 to a one-week high against a basket of major currencies, after snapping a four-day losing streak the previous day as equity market gains fizzled.

While stabilising oil prices and some improvement in risk sentiment on stock markets helped temper the dollar's gains, economists were counting the extent of the damage to the world economy from weeks of enforced lockdowns.

Economists forecast US weekly jobless claims of 5.1 million, lifting total filings during the crisis above 20 million.

Dire US retail and factory data and a nosedive in oil prices to 18-year lows on Wednesday strengthened the dollar across the board.

The greenback has gained broadly during the crisis as investors scrambled for the safety of the world's reserve currency, although it is down from its late-March highs since the US Federal Reserve unleashed a stream of measures to support the economy.

"In the short term, the dollar is expected to remain firm because of its safe-haven status and as the global economic situation remains uncertain," said Andrew Wilson, chairman of global fixed income, Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

"We expect the dollar to underperform in the medium term as economies start to recover."

US President Donald Trump is due to announce guidelines on re-opening the country's economy at a press conference later on Thursday.

The euro resumed its drop versus the dollar, down a third of a percent at $1.08775 as a half-trillion-euro compromise deal struck between euro zone governments last week to support countries through the coronavirus outbreak is widely seen as insufficient, especially for debt-laden Italy.

"The market has finally come to the conclusion that what the euro group delivered was not enough," said Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of FX and commodity research at Commerzbank.

"This shows that the European Central Bank is still in a permanent role to prevent a Eurozone crisis, which is not a good situation to be in."

The yen weakened 0.2pc against the dollar, as media reports suggested Japan was preparing to extend a state of emergency beyond major cities to the entire nation.

The dollar rose against currencies considered riskier bets, edging up against the British pound and Australian and New Zealand dollars.

Oil currencies paused after Wednesday's selloff on the stabilising oil price, with the Norwegian crown and Canadian dollar broadly flat against the dollar.