MW: Dollar drifts down as euro, pound power higher after data
The euro and the pound advanced against the U.S. dollar Friday, with the shared currency higher after stronger-than-expected inflation data, while sterling brushed past a downbeat report on British economic growth.
The gains for those currencies helped set back the ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.31% , a measure of the greenbackâ€™s strength against a basket of six rivals, by 0.3% to 98.80. The WSJ Dollar Index BUXX, -0.15% which gaugeâ€™s the greenbackâ€™s strength against 16 currencies, shed 0.2% at 89.59.
The widely watched ICE dollar index was on track to lose 1.2% for the week, and decline 1.8% as April trade gets closer to wrapping up.Euro pop: The euro EURUSD, +0.4782% bought $1.0940 after Eurostatâ€™s preliminary eurozone inflation report for April showed core prices jumped to 1.2%. Thatâ€™s the highest since 2013, and above the 1% consensus estimate. Headline inflation rose to 1.9%, above the 1.8% estimate.
The shared currency bought $1.0874 late Thursday in New York.
â€śThe news was taken with gusto by the market because it minimizes the possibility of any additional [quantitative easing] by the ECB,â€ť said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management, in a note.
â€śThe ECB has been arguing that inflation pressure remains subdued, requiring perhaps, some additional monetary stimulus, but latest data shows that headline inflation has picked up 11 out of past 12 months and now core readings are inching higher, albeit modestly,â€ť he said.
Read: ECB live blog recap: Mario Draghi sees diminished downside economic risks
Sterling strength: The pound GBPUSD, +0.2402% fetched $1.2942 compared with $1.2905 late Thursday in New York. Sterling pushed through $1.29 early Friday and largely held to higher ground even as data showed the U.K. economy grew a slower-than-expected 0.3% in the first quarter. A slowdown in services activity, particularly retail, clipped growth, the Office for National Statistics said.
â€śTo be fair, todayâ€™s weak growth from the U.K. figures were hardly surprising,â€ť wrote Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at Forex.com. â€śAfter all, most of leading economic indicators had been weaker throughout Q1 as households and businesses prepared for the start of the Brexit process.â€ť
The poundâ€™s gain on Friday added to whatâ€™s been a strong month for the currency against the dollar. Itâ€™s jumped more than 3% against the greenback, with much of the heavy lifting coming after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May unexpectedly called for an early general election to be held on June 8.
â€śWith the Fed still on course to raise rates further this year, the GBP/USDâ€™s current rally does look suspicious to me. However, you canâ€™t argue with the market regardless of my fundamental views,â€ť said Razaqzada. â€śI will therefore put my bearish views on the back burner until price shows a clear reversal sign. But I do feel we are nearing the turning point.â€ť
Elsewhere in the currency market, the dollar against the yen USDJPY, +0.15% traded at ÂĄ111.37, slightly higher than ÂĄ111.26 late Thursday in New York.