Dollar drifts lower on bearish economic data

The euro gained against the dollar ahead of the French presidential election – The dollar fell against a basket of major currencies on Thursday, weighed by bearish economic data while the euro remained bullish ahead of the first round of the French presidential election.

The , which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, fell by 0.19% to 99.52 by 12:37 EDT.

The dollar remained on track to end the week in negative territory, after bearish economic data weighed on sentiment.

The Labor Department said Thursday, initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 244,000 for the week ended April 15, which was than analysts’ forecast of 242,000.

In a separate report, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that the Philly Fed manufacturing index to a seasonally adjusted 22.0, from 32.8 in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected Philly Fed manufacturing index to rise 25.0.

Elsewhere, the euro continued its march higher against the dollar, despite uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the first round of the French presidential election, scheduled for April 23.

According to Oddschecker, betting market probabilities around the French Presidential election have moved – Odds of a victory for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen or far-left candidate Melenchon are at 24% and 11%, respectfully.

Some analysts warned that a victory for either the far right or the far left candidates would be a set back for the Eurozone.

“Given the extreme eurosceptic policies of both the far right and far left candidates, we think that a win for either camp would lead to fears about a return of a eurozone crisis.” Barclays Capital said in a note to clients.

traded at $1.0750, up 0.36%, while traded flat at 0.8383.

Meanwhile, pared the losses sustained from the previous session to trade at $1.2824, up 0.38%. Sterling remained close to a six-month high against the dollar, after the British Parliament on Wednesday .

traded at 109.37, up 0.47%, while traded flat at $1.3484.

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