Forex — Dollar Extends gains, Approaches 1-1/2 month highs on U.S. optimism

Dollar pushes higher after the string of good US data — The dollar extended gains and again approached the last one-and-a-half-month highs added against other major currencies on Thursday, as a string of upbeat US data and optimism over the strength of the economy and in the midst of the fresh hopes for a December interest rate increase.

The greenback strengthened after the U.S. Department of labor said initial claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected to a deficit of 260,000 last week.

Further reports showed that the US trade deficit narrowed in August as exports rose to a two-and-a-half-year high, while factory orders rose more than analysts had expected.

The dollar was also said intensified after the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker on Thursday that he is still in the planning on a further interest rate increase this year and three next year.

«I still have increases in three of the interest rate in the next year, but we will see how the dynamics play out,» said Harker, speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Austin, Texas.

GBP/USD slid 0.32% to 1.1722, moves in on Tuesday, the six-week low of 1.1696, while GBP/USD declined 0.76% to trade 1.3141.

The euro weakened after the minutes of the European Central Bank, the September meeting showed that members remain concerned about the volatility of the currency, and some suggested that the economy may need major stimulus for a longer period of time.

The common currency was already fragile, after the regional government of Catalonia has announced on Wednesday that they declare independence from Spain on Monday, adding to tensions in the region.

Elsewhere, USD/JPY 0.11% slipped to 112.63, while USD/CHF rose by 0.28% to trade 0.9778.

The Australian and new Zealand Dollar remained weaker, with AUD/USD down 0.70% at 0.7808. while the NZD/USD slumped 0.50% to 0.7132.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD 0.38% 1.2524 was said, from a six-week high of 1.2552 hit earlier in the session, according to Statistics Canada, the country’s trade deficit rose from C$3.41 billion in August from C$2.98 billion in the previous month.

Analysts had expected the trade deficit to narrow to C$2.60 billion in August.

The US dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.35% at 93.65 to 10:50 a.m. ET (14:50 GMT), re-approaching Tuesday is the one-and-a-half-month high of 93.78.

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