|DOLLAR MOSTLY LOWER AFTER DELUGE OF ECONOMIC REPORTS|
Aruba, August 31, 2015 - The dollar is currently turning in a mixed performance against its major competitors Thursday, following the release of a large number of US economic reports. The US currency is down against the Euro and the Japanese Yen, but is holding onto modest gains against the British pound. After reporting modest increases in first-time claims for US unemployment benefits over the past few weeks, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday unexpectedly showing another uptick in initial jobless claims in the week ended August 15th. The Labor Department said initial jobless claims crept up to 277,000, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week's revised level of 273,000. The continued increase came as a surprise to economists, who had expected jobless claims to edge down to 270,000 from the 274,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Existing home sales in the US unexpectedly saw continued growth in the month of July, the National Association of Realtors revealed in a report on Thursday, with sales climbing to their highest level in well over eight years. NAR said existing home sales climbed 2.0% to an annual rate of 5.59 million in July from a downwardly revised 5.48 million in June. The continued increase came as a surprise to economists, who had expected existing home sales to drop to a rate of 5.40 million from the 5.49 million originally reported for the previous week. Indicating an acceleration in the pace of growth in regional manufacturing activity, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released a report on Thursday showing that its index of activity in the sector rose more than expected in August.
The Philly Fed said its diffusion index of current activity increased to 8.3 in August from 5.7 in July, with a positive reading indicating growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to climb to 7.5. Partly reflecting a sharp drop in housing permits, the Conference Board released a report on Thursday showing an unexpected decrease by its index of leading US economic indicators. The Conference Board said the leading economic index fell by 0.2% in July following a 0.6% increase in June. Economists had expected the index to rise by 0.2%. The dollar has extended yesterday's weakness against the Euro, falling to a 1-week low of USD1.1220 from a high of around USD1.10 on Tuesday.