NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar rose to a three-week high on Thursday as traders overlooked another week of roughly 3 million new jobless claims, evidence of a second wave of coronavirus-related lay-offs.
The Japanese yen <JPY=> and Swiss franc <CHF=> were both weaker against the dollar and flat versus the euro, and U.S. stocks ended the day up, suggesting the dollar’s bid was not part of a broader risk-off move.
The Labor Department’s weekly jobless claims report on Thursday, the most timely data on the economy, supports the contention that it would take a while for activity to rebound even as businesses in many states reopen after shuttering in mid-March as authorities tried to slow the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus.
The latest data lifted to 36.5 million the number of people who have filed claims for unemployment benefits since mid-March, with more than one in five workers losing their job. Claims will be closely watched in the coming weeks for signs of whether companies rehire workers as businesses reopen.
Against a basket of its rivals <=USD>, the dollar was up 0.20% at 100.37, hitting a three-week high of 100.56 early in the session.
“The USD shrugged off the higher-than-forecast jobless claims, and deflationary trade prices, though Wall Street took a dive, before later turning higher,” wrote analysts at Action Economics.
The euro was down 0.23% against the dollar at $1.079 <EUR=>.
“Economic fundamentals remain bleak on both sides of the Atlantic, with markets continuing to look through the data. Big picture, the pairing remains inside of recent trading ranges, and until a clearer view of the re-opening of economies becomes evident, more of the same is anticipated,” wrote the analysts.
Earlier in the session the pound <GBP=> tumbled below the $1.22 line for the first time in more than five weeks after Wednesday’s data showed Britain’s economy shrank by a record 5.8% in March as the coronavirus crisis escalated. It later recovered, last trading down only 0.06% at $1.222.
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Kate Duguid; Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in London; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Dan Grebler)