The dollar got off to a weak start against its major rivals Thursday, but has since pared its early losses. The buck is currently down slightly against the Euro and the British pound, but is gaining ground against the Japanese Yen.
Traders were encouraged by the news that China has accepted an invitation from the U.S. for a new round of trade talks to be held in late August.
China’s Ministry of Commerce said that a Chinese delegation led by Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen will travel to the U.S. for trade talks to be held with U.S. Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs David Malpass.
A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly edged lower in the week ended August 11th. The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 212,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 214,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 215,000 from the 213,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Growth in Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity slowed by much more than anticipated in the month of August, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on Thursday.
The Philly Fed said its index for current general activity tumbled to 11.9 in August from 25.7 in July. While a positive reading still indicates growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to show a much more modest drop to 22.0.
New residential construction rebounded by much less than expected in the month of July, the Commerce Department revealed in a report released on Thursday.
The report said housing starts rose by 0.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.168 million in July after plunging by 12.9 percent to a revised rate of 1.158 million in June.
Economists had expected housing starts to soar by 7.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.260 million from the 1.173 million originally reported for the previous month.
The Commerce Department also said building permits climbed by 1.5 percent to an annual rate of 1.311 million in July after dipping by 0.7 percent to a revised rate of 1.292 million in June.
Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, had been expected to jump by 2.9 percent to a rate of 1.310 million from the 1.273 million originally reported for the previous month.
The dollar dropped to a low of $1.1409 against the Euro Thursday, but has since rebounded to around $1.1360.
Euro area trade surplus decreased for a third straight month in June, albeit slightly, preliminary data from Eurostat showed Thursday. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus fell to EUR 16.7 billion from EUR 16.9 billion in May. Economists had expected the figure to remain unchanged at May’s level.
Germany’s wholesale price inflation accelerated further in July to the highest level in more than a year, data from Destatis showed Thursday. Wholesale prices climbed 3.5 percent year-over-year in July, just above the 3.4 percent increase in June.
The buck fell to a low of $1.2753 against the pound sterling Thursday, but has since bounced back to around $1.2715.
UK retail sales increased more than expected in July, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Thursday. Retail sales including auto fuel, rose 0.7 percent month-on-month in July, in contrast to a 0.5 percent fall in June. Sales were forecast to increase by 0.2 percent.
The greenback slipped to a low of Y110.458 against the Japanese Yen Thursday, but has since risen to around Y110.865.
Japan posted a merchandise trade deficit of 231.2 billion yen in July, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday. That was shy of expectations for a shortfall of 41.2 billion yen following the downwardly revised 720.8 billion yen surplus in June.