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US Dollar Jumps As Worse-Than-Expected Jobless Claims Spook Markets

June 18, 2020 at 14:19 by Andrew Moran

US dollar banknotes and coinsThe US dollar is advancing against many of its G10 currency rivals on Thursday after the number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits came in worse than what analysts had expected. The latest data spooked investors, triggering greater uncertainty in the broader market and sent traders into the traditional safe-haven asset.

According to the Department of Labor, initial jobless claims clocked in at 1.508 million for the week ending June 13, coming in higher than the median estimate of 1.3 million. Continuing jobless claims topped 20.5 million, and the four-week moving average, which removes the week-to-week volatility, exceed 1.773 million.

These are the lowest levels since the COVID-19 public health crisis started three months ago. Some experts do note, however, that the effects of the pandemic are not fully reported since the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits are not included in the initial and continuing claims numbers.

Last week, initial jobless claims reached 1.566 million, the continuing jobless claims exceeded 20.6 million, and the four-week average hit 20.008 million.

While the jobless trend peaked weeks ago, financial markets have been given the jitters over the persist worse-than-expected readings. With concerns over a second wave of the coronavirus, traders fear that stocks could experience another steep correction after three straight months of gains.

In other data, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s manufacturing index surged to 27.5 in June, up from -43.1 in May. This easily beat market projections of -23. The Conference Board’s Leading Index also rose 2.8% in May, up from the 4.4% drop in April.

The US Dollar Index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, spurred safe-haven demand on Thursday after the disappointing data and the decline in markets. The index climbed 0.2% to 97.36, from an opening of 97.08. The index is on track for a weekly gain of around 0.6%. Year-to-date, it is up more than 1%.

The USD/CAD currency pair edged up 0.07% to 1.3572, from an opening of 1.3566, at 14:14 GMT on Thursday. The EUR/USD fell 0.15% to 1.1227, from an opening of 1.1245.

If you have any questions, comments, or opinions regarding the US Dollar, feel free to post them using the commentary form below.

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