Dollar index pushes lower on weak U.S. retail sales, jobless claims data

Investing.com –

Investing.com – The dollar pushed lower against the other major currencies on Thursday, after the release of weak U.S. retail sales and jobless claims data, although concerns over Greece’s debt crisis continued to encourage safe-haven demand.

In a report, the U.S. Commerce Department said that retail sales declined by 0.8% last month, worse than expectations for a drop of 0.5%. Retail sales fell by 0.9% in December.

Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, slumped 0.9% in December, disappointing forecasts for a 0.4% decline. Core sales in November dropped 0.9%, upwardly revised from a previously reported fall of 1.0%.

Separately, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending February 7 increased by 25,000 to 304,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 279,000.

Analysts had expected initial jobless claims to rise by 6,000 to 285,000 last week.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.61% to 94.58.

EUR/USD edged up 0.10% to 1.1346. The euro had weakened earlier, as talks between Greece and European Union officials ended without an agreement on Wednesday, though both sides said there was still hope for a deal. Further talks are due to be held next Monday.

Greece’s current bailout is due to expire on February 28 and the new Greek government does not want it extended, fuelling fears over a conflict with its creditors which could trigger the country’s exit from the euro zone.

The pound rallied to more than one-month highs against the dollar, with GBP/USD up 0.98% to 1.5385 after the Bank of England said inflation is likely to fall to zero in the first half of this year, but added that there was no threat of deflation taking hold in the U.K.

In addition, the bank said it would now consider cutting interest rates below 0.5% if inflation dips more deeply into negative territory than expected.

Elsewhere, USD/JPY dropped 0.92% to trade at 119.33, while USD/CHF added 0.14% to 0.9301.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were mixed, with AUD/USD slipping 0.21% to 0.7698 and NZD/USD rising 0.38% to 0.7393.

The Aussie came under pressure after the Australian Bureau of Statistics said the number of employed people dropped by 12,200 in January, compared to expectations for a 5,000 fall, while Australia’s unemployment rate rose to 6.4% last month from 6.1% in December.

Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar remained higher, with USD/CAD down 0.74% to 1.2538.

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