NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar index erased earlier losses on Thursday after multiple data releases painted a positive U.S. economic picture, but remained slightly lower on the day after the United States and China made a preliminary deal to de-escalate their trade war.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollar notes are seen in front of a stock graph in this November 7, 2016 picture illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
The Commerce Department said on Thursday retail sales increased 0.3% last month. Data for November was also revised upward to show retail sales gaining 0.3% instead of rising 0.2%, as previously reported.
A gauge of manufacturing activity in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region also rebounded in January to its highest level in eight months, and the outlook is the brightest in more than a year and a half, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said.
Other data showed that the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week.
“The data flurry was positive, particularly the Philly Fed number,” said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York. It “reduces the probability for a recession, which was low already.”
The dollar index .DXY was last 97.220, after falling to 97.085 overnight, which was the lowest since Jan. 8.
The dollar has weakened since the United States and China on Wednesday signed a deal in which China will boost purchases of U.S. goods and services by $200 billion over two years in exchange for the rolling back of some tariffs.
But 25% tariffs on a $250 billion array of Chinese industrial goods and components used by U.S. manufacturers, and China’s retaliatory tariffs on over $100 billion in U.S. goods, will remain.
“For the dollar, it’s a mixed bag … it should mean higher U.S. growth this year, but it also means higher foreign growth this year and less risks abroad, and that tends to pull capital out of the U.S. and be dollar negative,” said Anderson.
The Swiss franc CHF= continued to gain against the dollar, reaching 0.961 overnight, its strongest level since Sept. 2018.
The United States on Monday added Switzerland to its watch list of currency manipulators, which analysts say could discourage the Swiss National Bank (SNB) from intervening to try to limit further appreciation of the franc.
Reporting by Karen Brettell; editing by Jonathan Oatis