The U.S. dollar drifted lower against most of its major rivals on Thursday with traders looking ahead to the crucial monthly jobs data for clues about the central bank’s timelines for asset tapering and interest rate hikes.

Data released by the Labor Department this morning showed initial jobless claims in the U.S. dipped to 340,000 in the week ended August 28th, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 354,000.

Economists had expected initial jobless claims to edge down to 345,000 from the 353,000 originally reported for the previous week.

In other U.S. economic news, the Commerce Department released a report showing the U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $70.1 billion in July from a revised $73.2 billion in June. Economists had expected the trade deficit to narrow to $71.0 billion from the $75.7 billion originally reported for the previous month.

Another report said factory orders rose by 0.4% in July after jumping by 1.5% in June and spiking by 2.3% in May. Economists had expected factory orders to increase by 0.3%.

The dollar index has dropped to 92.22, down 0.25% from the previous close of 92.45.

Against the Euro, the dollar weakened to 1.1876 from 1.1842. Eurostat data released earlier in the day showed that Euro zone producer prices rose more than expected in July on the back of a jump in the prices of energy and intermediate goods.

The Pound Sterling firmed to fetch $1.3837 a unit, nearly 0.5% more than Wednesday’s close of $1.3770.

Against the Yen, the dollar shed marginal ground, weakening to 109.93 yen.

Against the Aussie, the dollar dropped to 0.7401, easing from 0.7366.

The Swiss franc strengthened to 0.9144 a dollar, gaining from 0.9156. A report from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said Switzerland’s economy grew 1.8% sequentially in the second quarter, after dropping 0.4% in the previous quarter. On a yearly basis, GDP was up 7.7%, in contrast to the 0.7% fall in the first quarter.

The Loonie firmed against the dollar, moving on to 1.2553 from 1.2621 as oil prices rose sharply on optimism about growth and outlook for energy demand.


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