Dollar index regains ground as market sentiment wanes

Investing.com –

Investing.com – The dollar regained ground against the other major currencies on Friday, as market sentiment broadly weakened amid mounting fears over Greece’s debt troubles, while investors awaited the release of U.S. manufacturing data later in the day.

The euro pushed lower against the dollar, with EUR/USD down 0.41% to 1.1321 as another round of talks with eurozone finance ministers was set to take place later Friday after Germany rejected a proposed bailout extension request from Greece.

Earlier Friday, research group Markit said that the euro zone’s preliminary composite purchasing managers’ index rose to 53.5 this month from 52.6 in January, beating expectations for a reading of 53.0.

Germany’s preliminary manufacturing PMI remained unchanged at 50.9 in February, disappointing expectations for a rise to 51.5, while the services PMI rose to 55.5 this month from a reading of 54.0 in January, compared to expectations for an increase to 54.2.

In France, the preliminary manufacturing PMI slipped to 47.7 this month from 49.2 in January, while the services PMI rose to 53.4 in February from 49.4 last month, exceeding expectations for an increase to 49.8.

The pound remained lower against the dollar, with GBP/USD sliding 0.32% to 1.5364.

The Office for National Statistics earlier reported that U.K. retail sales rose fell 0.3% in January, compared to expectations for a 0.2% downtick. December’s figure was revised to a 0.2% gain from a previously estimated increase of 0.4%.

Year-on-year, U.K. retail sales rose at a rate of 4.8% last month, below expectations for a 5.9% increase and after a downwardly revised 3.8% gain in December.

A separate report showed that U.K. public sector net borrowing dropped by £9.40 billion January, more than the expected decline of £7.80 billion. December’s figure was revised to a £9.87 rise from a previously estimated £12.47 increase.

Elsewhere, USD/JPY fell 0.16% to 118.75, while USD/CHF rose 0.29% to 0.9521.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were broadly stronger, with AUD/USD climbing 0.65% to 0.7842 and NZD/USD gaining 0.35% to 0.7544.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD rose 0.24% to 1.2527 after Statistics Canada reported that retail sales dropped 2.0% in December, disappointing expectations for a 0.3% slip, after a 0.4% rise the previous month.

Core retail sales, wich exclude automobiles, declined by 2.3% in December, compared to expectations for a 0.7% fall, after an increase of 0.7% in November.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose 0.42% to 94.87.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release preliminary data on manufacturing activity.

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