Forex – Dollar holds onto modest gains after upbeat U.S. data

The dollar held onto modest gains against other major currencies on Thursday, helped by the release of upbeat data on U.S. jobless claims and manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia area, although ongoing political turmoil continued to weigh.

EUR/USD slid 0.30% to 1.1127, off a six-month peak of 1.1172 hit overnight.

The U.S. Department of Labor said initial jobless claims in the week ending May 13 decreased by 4,000 to 232,000 from the previous week’s total of 236,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to rise by 4,000 to 240,000 last week.

Separately, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that its manufacturing indexjumped to 38.8 this month from April’s reading of 22.0. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 19.5.

The greenback had weakened broadly following reports U.S. President Donald Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to end the agency’s investigation into ties between former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russia.

The U.S. dollar had already come under broad selling pressure after news that Trump shared sensitive intelligence with Russia’s foreign minister in a meeting last week.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed on Wednesday by the Justice Department as a special counsel to take over the probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Elsewhere, GBP/USD gained 0.36% to 1.3020, not far from an eight-month peak of 1.3048 hit earlier, after the U.K. Office for National Statistics said retail sales surged 2.3% in April, handily beating forecasts for a 1% increase and rebounding from a sharp 1.4% drop in March.

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