Dollar mixed against major currencies

10:20, February 26, 2010      

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The dollar was mixed against major currencies on Thursday amid U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony and latest economic data.

Economic conditions -- including low rates of resource utilization, subdued inflation trends, and stable inflation expectations -- are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period, Bernanke reiterated in a testimony before a committee of Senate on Thursday. He presented identical remarks to the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

U.S. initial claims for jobless benefits rose unexpectedly to 496,000 last week from 474,000 previously, the Labor Department reported. Consensus forecasts had expected a decline to 460,000. Initial jobless claims has increased 12 percent in the past two weeks, partly due to adverse weather conditions in the eastern part of the country. Analysts of Nomura Economic Research said the report added downside risk to their forecast for nonfarm payroll employment for February.

U.S. new orders for durable goods rose by 3.0 percent in January, propelled higher by a surge in defense and non-defense aircraft, according to the Commerce Department. Orders for core nondefense capital goods (excluding aircraft) fell by 2.9 percent, with machinery orders 9.7 percent lower.

Economic sentiment in the 16-nation eurozone fell in February after rising for 10 consecutive months, the European Commission reported Thursday. In a separate report, the European Commission said GDP in the EU will gradually return to pre-recession levels, but the economy still faces headwinds. The EU economy is likely to expand just 0.7 percent in 2010, according to the report.

Moody's Investors Service said on Thursday that it could cut Greece's sovereign debt rating within months unless the country could meet goals to cut budget deficit. Standard & Poor's, another major rating agency, warned on Wednesday that it may lower Greece's debt rating to junk status.

The euro bought 1.3545 dollars in late New York trading compared with 1.3528 dollars it bought late Thursday. The pound fell to 1.5246 dollars from 1.5398 dollars.

The dollar rose to 1.0626 Canadian dollars from 1.0553 Canadian dollars, and fell to 1.0804 Swiss francs from 1.0817 Swiss francs. It fell to 89.13 Japanese yen from 90.15 Japanese yen.

Source: Xinhua
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