The U.S. dollar’s dominance over its peers continued for yet another session, with the currency holding firm on Thursday, buoyed by another set of strong economic data.
On the trade front, China said it would slash tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. imports in half as part of its efforts to implement a recently signed trade deal.
China’s finance ministry said that from February 14, it would lower tariffs on some U.S. goods from 10% to 5% and on others from 5% to 2.5%.
The dollar index surged to 98.57 in late morning trades, and was last seen at 98.47, up 0.17% from previous close.
Data released by the Labor Department showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by much more than expected in the week ended February 1st. The report said initial jobless claims slid to 202,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 217,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 215,000 from the 216,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Another report from the Labor Department said labor productivity jumped by 1.4% in the fourth quarter after edging down by 0.2% in the third quarter. Economists had expected productivity to surge up by about 1.5%.
The report said unit labor costs also shot up by 1.4% in the fourth quarter after spiking by 2.5% in the previous quarter. The continued increase in labor costs matched economist estimates.
Against the Euro, the dollar strengthened to $1.0965 before paring some gains. However, it was still up at $1.0983, gaining about 0.15%.
Against Pound Sterling, the dollar was quite stronger at $1.2928, compared to Wednesday’s close of $1.3002.
The Japanese Yen was weak as well, with a unit of dollar fetching 109.98 yen, compared to 109.82 yen on Wednesday, as increased risk appetite dimmed demand for the safe haven yen.
The Aussie was down at 0.6731 against the dollar. Swiss franc was down with the dollar-franc pair at 0.9748.
The loonie was little changed against the dollar with the pair at 1.3286.