Dollar moves mostly lower vs. rivals ahead of U.S. data

Investing.com –

Investing.com – The dollar was mostly lower against the other major currencies on Friday, as markets awaited the release of U.S. manufacturing data later in the day after recent economic reports fuelled uncertainty over the strength of the nation’s recovery.

Sentiment on the dollar remained vulnerable after the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported on Thursday that its manufacturing index deteriorated to a 12-month low of 5.2 this month from January’s reading of 6.3.

Separately, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending February 14 decreased by 21,000 to 283,000, compared to expectations for a 11,000 fall to 293,000.

The dollar had also weakened on Wednesday after the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s January meeting showed that policymakers expressed concern that raising interest rates too soon could dampen the U.S. economic recovery.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 94.54.

The euro slipped lower against the dollar, with EUR/USD down 0.22% to 1.1343 as investors remained cautious as another round of talks with eurozone finance ministers was set to take place on 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 edged lower against the dollar, with GBP/USD slipping 0.22% to 1.5379 after the Office for National Statistics said 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 0.22% to 118.67, while USD/CHF edged up 0.10% to 0.9503.

The Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars were broadly stronger, with AUD/USD climbing 0.63% to 0.7841 and NZD/USD gaining 0.41% to 0.7548, while USD/CAD declined 0.52% to 1.2431.

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

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