With investor trying to digest all the uncertainty caused by the Federal Reserve’s latest policy statement, the U.S. Commerce Department announced that total durable goods orders tumbled by 5.1% last month, compared to forecasts for a decline of 0.6%. Core durable goods orders, which exclude volatile transportation items, fell by 1.2% in December, disappointing expectations for a drop of 0.1%.
Separately, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending January 22 decreased by 14,000 to 278,000 from the previous week’s total of 294,000, which was the highest since April. Analysts expected jobless claims to fall by 12,000 to 282,000 last week.
Now that the Fed left interest rates on hold at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, after raising interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade in December, investors are turning their attention to the conclusion of the of the Bank of Japan meeting on Friday.
The dollar edged higher 0.19% against the Japanese yen, with USD/JPY to trade at 118.89.
However, the dollar was lower against the British pound and the Swiss franc, with GBP/USD up 0.61% at 1.4323 and with USD/CHF shedding 0.30% to 1.0119.
Sterling found support after the U.K. Office for National Statistics said fourth quarter gross domestic product grew 0.5%, matching forecasts after growth of 0.4% in the three months to September. The U.K. economy grew at an annual rate of 1.9% in the three months to December, slowing from 2.1% in the third quarter and the smallest increase since early 2013.
Elsewhere, the single currency increased 0.24% against the dollar, with EUR/USD to trade at 1.0918.
The commodity-related Canadian dollar was boosted since oil prices remained around $32 a barrel on Tuesday, after falling to 12-year lows below $27 a barrel last week. USD/CAD was down 0.10% at 1.4085.
The Australian and New Zealand dollars were stronger, with AUD/USD up 0.78% at 0.7080 and with NZD/USD climbing 0.66% to trade at 0.6473.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.22% at 98.81.