The US Dollar Index (DXY) rose above the key 91.00 threshold on Thursday as initial jobless claims came into focus, as well as the performance in the broader financial markets. The greenback has been taking advantage of the subpar and uncertain trend in the equities arena. Will the index’s next target be 92.00?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits clocked in 745,000 in the week ending February 27, coming in below the median estimate of 750,000. This is up from last week’s reading of 736,000.
Continuing jobless claims tumbled to 4.295 million, while the four-week average, which eliminates week-to-week volatility, fell to 790,750.
An additional 436,696 applications for benefits were submitted through a federal-relief program. When federal and state claims are combined, the government received 1.18 million applications were filed. Combined claims have not fallen below one million for nine months.
Texas, Ohio, and New York reported the biggest jump for jobless benefits. Missouri was the only state with a significant drop.
That said, experts note that the data might be unreliable because of fraud and processing claims that were impacted by the power outages stemming from the blast of wintry weather that affected 100 million people.
In other labor-related data, non-farm productivity contracted 4.2% in the fourth quarter, less than the market forecast of -4.7%. Unit labor costs advanced 6% in the October-to-December period.
On Friday, the US government will publish the February jobs data. Economists are forecasting 182,000 new jobs and an unemployment rate of 6.3%. In January, only 49,000 new positions were created, and the jobless rate was 6.3%.
Over the coming months, the US labor situation could improve amid many states lifting business restrictions, more Americans getting vaccinated, and the federal government on the verge of approving the $1.9 trillion coronavirus package. The White House slammed Mississippi and Texas for removing all mask mandates and allowing businesses to reopen at full capacity.
Moreover, in January, factory orders surged 2.6%, beating the market forecast of 2.1%. This is also up from 1.6% in December.
The US bond market was mixed toward the end of the trading week, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield edging up 0.004% to 1.474%. The one-year bill was unchanged at 0.079%, while the 30-year bond jumped 0.01% to 2.261%.
The DXY, which measures the buck against a basket of currencies, advanced 0.19% to 91.12, from an opening of 91.01. The index is poised to post a weekly gain of more than 1%, raising its year-to-date rally to 1.3%.
The USD/CAD currency pair declined 0.1% to 1.2645, from an opening of 1.2657, at 13:59 GMT on Thursday. The EUR/USD dropped 0.2% to 1.2039, from an opening of 1.2064.
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