The U.S. dollar was weak against most major currencies on Thursday, amid rising speculation the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates sometime in the near futures to help offset the possible impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy.
Weak jobless claims and durable goods orders data too weighed on the dollar.
The dollar index dropped to a low of 98.36 around late morning, and after recovering to around 98.65 a little past noon, retreated again and was last seen at 98.44, down nearly 0.6% from previous close.
Data from the Labor Department showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits climbed by more than expected in the week ended February 22nd, rising to 219,000, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 211,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 212,000 from the 210,000 originally reported for the previous week.
A report from the Commerce Department said durable goods orders edged down by 0.2% in January after spiking by an upwardly revised 2.9% in December. Economists had expected durable goods orders to slump by 1.5% compared to the 2.4% jump that had been reported for the previous month.
Another report from the Commerce Department said real gross domestic product increased by 2.1% in the fourth quarter, unchanged from the estimate provided last month.
Against the Euro, the dollar weakened to $1.1007 from overnight $1.0882, before edging up slightly to $1.0995, still netting a loss of more than 1%.
The Euro gained in strength after data from the European Commission showed eurozone economic confidence strengthened to a nine-month high in February.
Rising for the fourth straight month, the economic sentiment index came in at 103.5 in February, versus a revised 102.6 in January. Economists had forecast the reading to fall to 102.6 from January’s initial estimate of 102.8.
Against Pound Sterling, the dollar was up marginally at $1.2886, after initially falling to $1.2946.
The Japanese Yen was stronger by about 0.65% with a dollar fetching 109.70 yen, compared to 110.42 yen Wednesday evening.
The dollar lost notable ground against the Aussie, falling nearly 0.5% to A$0.6576. Against Swiss franc, it shed about 0.8% at 0.9692, while against the loonie, it was up at 1.3387.