The U.S. dollar firmed up against most major currencies on Thursday, reacting to the latest batch of economic data.
Data from the Labor Department this morning showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits pulled back further off the record high set in late March in the week ended May 16th.
The report said initial jobless claims dropped to 2.438 million, a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 2.687 million.
Economists had expected jobless claims to tumble to 2.400 million from the 2.981 million originally reported for the previous week.
Jobless claims fell for the seventh straight week after reaching a record high of 6.867 million in the week ended March 28th.
A separate report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia showed a slowdown in the pace of contraction in regional manufacturing activity in the month of May.
The Philly Fed said its diffusion index for current general activity climbed to a negative 43.1 in May from a negative 56.6 in April. Economists had expected the index to increase to a negative 41.5.
The dollar index, which was down at 99.02 early on in the session, rallied to 99.51 by late morning, and was last seen at 99.44, up 0.32% from previous close.
Against the Euro, the dollar firmed up to $1.0947, after trading at $1.1010 a unit of Euro in the European session.
The Pound Sterling moved in a tight band against the dollar. The dollar was last seen hovering around $1.2220, as against Wednesday’s close of $1.2237.
Against the Japanese currency, the dollar was weaker at 107.60 yen, losing ground from 107.85 sometime around mid morning.
The Swiss franc was weaker at 0.9705 a dollar compared with 0.9651 on Wednesday.
The dollar was stronger at $0.6567 a unit of Aussie, rising from $0.6597, while against the Loonie, it was at C$1.3955, losing ground from C$1.3901, after oil prices rose.