Dollar index holds near multi-year highs ahead of U.S. data

Investing.com –

Investing.com – The dollar held steady near 12-year highs against the other major currencies on Friday, as the previous session’s mixed U.S. data did little to dampen optimism over the U.S. economic recovery and as markets eyed additional U.S. reports due later in the day.

The dollar showed little reaction to data on Thursday showing that the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week rose to a four-month high of 316,000, compared to expectations for a decline of 6,000.

A separate report showed that U.S. producer prices fell by the most in three years in December, falling 0.3% as energy costs tumbled.

In addition, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that its manufacturing index fell to an 11-month low of 6.3 this month from December’s reading of 24.5, while the New York Fed said its general business conditions index increased to 10.0 this month from a reading of -3.6 in December.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.09% to 92.60, close to the fresh 12-year peaks of 93.15 hit overnight.

USD/CHF advanced 4.36% to 0.8779, off lows of 0.7360 hit on Thursday when the pair plummeted more than 11%, while EUR/CHF climbed 4.37% to trade at 1.0205, off the previous session’s lows of 0.8204.

The Swiss National Bank shocked markets on Thursday by scrapping the 1.20 per euro exchange rate floor it imposed in September 2011, in a bid to stave off deflation and prevent the continued appreciation of the safe-haven franc.

The central bank also cut rates to minus 0.75%, from minus 0.25% and lowered its target range for the three-month Libor to minus 1.25% to minus 0.25%, from minus 0.75% to 0.25%.

Earlier Friday, official data showed that Swiss retail sales fell at an annualized rate of 1.2% in November, confounding expectations for a 1.1% rise, after an uptick of 0.3% the previous month.

Meanwhile, EUR/USD held steady at 1.1623, holding above Thursday’s 11-year lows of 1.1567.

Official data earlier showed that consumer price inflation in the euro zone fell 0.1% in December, in line with market expectations, after a 0.2% decline in November.

The bloc’s CPI rose at an annualized rate of 0.2% last month, unchanged from November.

Core CPI in the euro zone, which excludes food, energy, alcohol and tobacco, rose 0.4% in December, after a 0.1% downtick the previous month.

The data fuelled further concerns over persistently low levels of inflation in the euro area. The European Central Bank targets an inflation rate of close to, but just below 2%.

The dollar rose against the safe-haven yen, with USD/JPY up 0.30% to 116.49, easing off one-month lows of 115.85 hit overnight, while GBP/USD added 0.27% to 1.5223.

The commodity-linked currencies turned steady to lower. AUD/USD was almost unchanged at 0.8212 and NZD/USD slid 0.36% to trade at 0.7795. USD/CAD gained 0.34% to 1.1996, hovering close to Wednesday’s more than five-year high of 1.2018.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release a report on industrial production and preliminary data on consumer sentiment.

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