Solid gains in US stocks failed to provide any significant tailwind for the Aussie dollar overnight which peaked at highs 101.9 in the ensuing minutes of US jobless claims release - which later proved by US dollar-positive. Economic news from the US saw weekly jobless claims outstrip consensus estimates with 368,000 new claims for the week ending Feb 26 against a previous 388,000 new claims. Economists had anticipated the jobless number to come in just short of 400,000 new claims.
This is a particularly good precursor ahead of Friday non-farm payrolls which are expected to show the US economy created 183,000 new jobs in the month of February. It's been a solid week of the employment front in the US with Wednesday's ADP employment data providing a positive glimpse ahead of the main event on Friday. ADP Private Payrolls in January surpassed expectations to record jobs growth of 217,000 in February against estimates of 185,000.
The local unit moved higher in early trade before succumbing to moderate US strength over the course of trade to current levels of 101.5 US cents. We also saw this dollar-positive trade against major counterparts with sterling, Swiss, yen and commodity currencies all taking a south-bound turn against the greenback.
Across the Atlantic it was all about the Euro which continued to forge new 16 week highs against the greenback. Price action leapt over 1 US cent after ECB governor Jean Claude Trichet continued to take the hard line on price pressures stating strong vigilance was needed to combat inflation - many market participants are now betting on a rate hike when the ECB meets next month.
Trichet stated An interest rate increase in the next meeting is possible, it is not certain. As anticipated, earlier the ECB kept benchmark interest rates on hold at 1 per cent.