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The yen rose by more than one percent against all of its 16 most-traded peers tracked by Bloomberg as weaker factory data in Europe and China spurred concern economic growth was slowing, boosting safety demand. The yen surged by the most in three weeks against the dollar after Japan reported an unexpected trade surplus for last month, adding to evidence of a rebound in the economy.
Intercontinental Exchange Inc.’s Dollar Index, used to track the greenback against the currencies of six major U.S. trading partners including the euro, yen and pound, rose 0.1 percent to 79.723 after touching 79.315 yesterday, the lowest level since March 9. Applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. dropped last week to the lowest level in four years, reinforcing signs the U.S. labor market is picking up. Jobless claims decreased by 5,000 to 348,000 in the week ended March 17, the fewest since February 2008, Labor Department figures showed today.
The euro has weakened 2.9 percent during the past six months against the currencies of its nine developed-nation counterparts. A euro-area composite index based on a survey of purchasing managers in manufacturing and services dropped to 48.7 from 49.3 in February, London-based Markit Economics said in an initial estimate today. Economists forecast a gain to 49.6, according to the median of 21 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.
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