Investing.com - The greenback traded largely higher against most major currencies on Thursday after investors blamed a weak Philadelphia factory gauge on harsh winter weather and stuck with the greenback betting on no changes to monetary policy.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve said in the minutes of its January policy meeting that the U.S. central bank will continue tapering its monthly bond-purchasing program if recovery remains on track.
Fed asset purchases weaken the greenback to spur recovery, though talk of their dismantling strengthens the U.S. currency.
In U.S. trading on Thursday, EUR/USD was down 0.12% at 1.3717.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that its manufacturing index plunged to minus 6.3 in February from January’s 9.4 reading. Analysts had expected the index to inch down to 8.0 in February.
Still, the report did little to convince investors that the Federal Reserve will rethink its policy of gradually dismantling its bond-purchasing program, which currently stands at $65 billion in Treasury holdings and mortgage debt purchased by the U.S. central bank each month
Also on Thursday, the Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week fell by 3,000 to 336,000, slightly below expectations for a decline of 4,000.
In a separate report, the Labor Department said U.S. consumer prices rose 1.6% on a year-over-year basis in January, in line with forecasts. Consumer prices were 0.1% higher from a month earlier, also matching forecasts.
Core consumer prices, which are stripped of volatile food and energy components, were also up 1.6% on a year-over-year basis and 0.1% from the previous month.
The euro, meanwhile, came under pressure after Markit Economics reported that the euro zone composite output purchasing managers’ index ticked down to a two-month low of 52.7 this month, down from January’s 31-month high of 52.9.
Analysts were expecting a 53.1 reading, and the report softened the single currency due to the continent''s still high unemployment rates and soft inflationary pressures, which many think will prompt the European Central Bank to loosen policy if recovery flounders.
The dollar was up against the yen, with USD/JPY up 0.05% at 102.37, and up against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF up 0.09% at 0.8893.
The yen, meanwhile, enjoyed safe-haven demand from investors spooked by a soft Chinese manufacturing report.
The preliminary reading of China’s HSBC manufacturing index fell to a seven-month low of 48.3 this month, down from 49.5 in January, falling further below the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction.
The greenback was up against the pound, with GBP/USD down 0.14% at 1.6657.
The dollar was mixed against its cousins in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with USD/CAD up 0.21% at 1.1102, AUD/USD up 0.08% at 0.9009 and NZD/USD up 0.32% at 0.8300.
The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.10% at 80.32.
On Friday, the U.S. is to round up the week with private-sector data on existing homes sales.
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