The euro saw mixed results against other majors on Thursday in New York as investors mulled over a slew of economic developments around the world. The European currency touched a multi-week high against the yen and dollar, but gave back the gains against the greenback. The single currency slipped versus the pound.
The euro surrendered early gains against the dollar after rising to a 2 1/2-week high of 1.3385 earlier in the morning. The pair moved back to near 1.3220 in mid-day activity.
A U.S. Commerce Department report showed that personal income fell 0.3 percent in March following a 0.2 percent decrease in February. Economists had been expecting a slightly more modest decrease in income of about 0.2 percent.
The Commerce Department added that personal spending fell 0.2 percent in March following an upwardly revised 0.4 percent increase in the previous month. Spending had been expected to edge down 0.1 percent compared to the 0.2 percent increase originally reported for February.
The Labor Department revealed that initial jobless claims came in at 631,000 for the week ended April 25, down 14,000 from last week's revised total of 645,000.
The single currency moved slightly lower amid choppy trading against the sterling, moving near 0.8941 in the early afternoon. The euro had touched as high as 0.9018 on Wednesday.
In the UK, house prices dropped 0.4% month-on-month in April, indicating that March's 0.9% increase was a blip in a downward trend. However, the decline was smaller than a 1.2% fall economists had forecast.
The euro rallied to a two-week high of 131.07 against the Japanese yen. The European currency has been trending higher since Tuesday when it touched a seven-week low of 124.37.
The Bank of Japan retained its key interest rate at 0.1% and lowered its growth outlook. The bank now expects the economy to shrink 3.1% this fiscal and to grow 1.2% in the fiscal 2010. According to the forecasts made in January, decline in fiscal 2009 was seen at 2% and growth for 2010 at 1.5%.
BoJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said the central bank will make every effort to bring the economy back on to a recovery path. He hinted that increasing long-term government bond buying is not necessary for the time being.
On the economic front in the Eurozone, the statistics office of EU said the unemployment rate was 8.9% in March. This was higher than February's revised 8.7% and the 7.2% rate logged for March 2008. The March unemployment rate came in above the consensus forecast of 8.7%.
At the same time, Germany's jobless rate increased to 8.3% in April from 8.1% in March, the Federal Labor Agency reported today. The unemployment rate stood above the expected 8.2%. In April, the number of unemployed persons increased by a seasonally adjusted 58,000 compared to a revised 71,000 last month. Economists were expecting an increase of 65,000.
Meanwhile, the Euro-zone annual inflation stood at 0.6% in April, the same as in March, a flash estimate issued by the statistical office Euro stat showed today. This was the lowest rate since the launch of euro ten years ago.
Additionally, Germany's Federal Statistical Office announced today that the wholesale trade turnover rose 2.2% year-over-year in March, compared with a 12.5% fall in February, revised from 12.2% decline reported initially. A year ago, the turnover was down 5.9%.
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