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    Dollar strengthens to 1-1/2 month highs after U.S. data

    On Thusday, the dollar strengthened to one-and-a-half month highs against the rest of the major currencies, as a result of an unexpected rose of the U.S. jobless claims to the highest level since April.

    The U.S. Department of Labour announces that the number of individuals registering for initial jobless benefits in the week ending January 15 increased by 10,000 to 293,000 from the previous week’s total of 283,000, missing financial analysts forecasts for a fall of 5,000 to 278,000 last week.

    Oil prices continued slide  continued to pressure prices on Thursday, re-approaching the 12-year lows hit in Wednesday’s session as a global supply glut, pushing traders out of commodity currencies and into the dollar.

    The commodity-related Canadian dollar was down 0.60% against its American counterpart, with USD/CAD to trade at 1.4413, but remained close to the previous session’s 13-year peak of 1.4692.

    The US dollar was weaker against the Australian and New Zealand dollars, with AUD/USD up 0.25% at 0.6924 and with NZD/USD adding 0.19% to trade at 0.6442.

    The dollar held steady against the safe haven Japanese yen, with USD/JPY to trade at 116.92, off overnight lows of 116.47 and holding above the one-year low of 115.95 hit on Wednesday as the plunge in oil prices added to fears over slowing global growth.

    Meanwhile, in line with market expectations, the European Central Bank said it was maintaining its benchmark interest rate at a record-low 0.05%. The central bank also left its deposit facility rate unchanged at -0.30% and left its marginal lending at 0.30%. As a result the single currency tumbled 0.90% against the dollar, with EUR/USD  to trade at 1.0785.

    The dollar was advanced against the British pound and the Swiss franc, with GBP/USD down 0.60% at fresh five-year lows of 1.4107 and with USD/CHF gaining 0.72% to 1.0114.

    The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.64% at 99.81, the highest level since December 3.

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