Dollar steadies after upbeat US data amid holiday-thin trade
TOKYO, April 20: The dollar steadied against a basket of currencies on Friday after hitting a 2-1/2-week high overnight as data pointed to a sturdy US economy, while the euro was dented by weak manufacturing activity in Europe.
Many financial markets were closed for the Good Friday Easter holiday. Currency markets remain open but volume is expected to be light.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six other major currencies, rose to as high as 97.485 overnight, its highest level since April 2. It last traded at 97.392 on Friday, down 0.1 per cent on the day.
US retail sales increased by the most in 1-1/2-years in March as households boosted purchases of motor vehicles and a range of other goods, the latest indication that economic growth picked up in the first quarter after a false start.
The economy's strength was reinforced by other data on Thursday showing the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest in nearly 50 years last week.
"In addition to the recent upticks in Chinese data, the latest US retail sales numbers have helped to ease investor worries about the global economy. It's pretty quiet trading due to the Easter holiday, though," said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management. -Reuters