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The U.S. dollar traded mixed to higher against the most major currencies, recovering its losses after the Fed's monetary policy decision on Wednesday. The Fed kept its monetary policy unchanged but dropped the word "patient" from its outlook for monetary policy. The central bank lowered its forecasts for growth and inflation.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's manufacturing index declined to 5.0 in March from 5. 2 in February, missing expectations for a rise to 7.3. That was the lowest reading since February 2014. The index fell the fourth consecutive month.
A reading above zero indicates expansion.
The decline was driven by a slowdown in new order growth, decrease in unfilled orders and the average workweek for employees, and lower inventories and shipments.
The Conference Board's leading economic index climbed by 0.2% in February, missing expectations a 0.3% gain, after a 0.2% increase in January.
The number of initial jobless claims in the week ending March 14 in the U.S. rose by 1,000 to 291,000 from 290,000 in the previous week. The previous week's figure was revised down from 289,000. Analysts had expected the number of initial jobless claims to decrease to 297,000.
The U.S. current account deficit widened to $113.5 billion in the fourth quarter from $98.9 billion in the third quarter, missing expectations for a deficit of $103.0 billion. The third's quarter figure was revised up from a deficit of $100.3 billion.
The euro traded lower against the U.S. dollar on concerns over Greek's bailout talks. The European Central Bank (ECB) said on Thursday that banks borrowed €97.8 billion in loans, the so-called TLTROs. This figure indicates that the recovery in the Eurozone is spurring lending.
The ECB said in its economic bulletin that the economic activity is expected to rise due to the recent improvements in business and consumer confidence, falling oil prices and a weaker euro.
The British pound traded lower against the U.S. dollar in the absence of any major economic reports from the U.K.
The Swiss franc traded mixed against the U.S. dollar. The Swiss National Bank's (SNB) kept its interest rate unchanged at -0.75%. Analysts had expected this decision.
The SNB President Thomas Jordan said that the Swiss franc is overvalued and the central bank will intervene in the foreign exchange market if needed.
Switzerland's central bank lowered its growth and inflation forecasts. The SNB expects GDP to grow 0.9% in 2015, down from a December estimate of +2.1%. GDP for 2016 was cut to 1.8% from 2.4%.
The inflation forecast for 2015 was lowered to -1.1% from -0.1%. The SNB expect that inflation will be at -0.5%. Inflation is expected to be 0.4% in 2017.
The New Zealand dollar traded lower against the U.S. dollar. In the overnight trading session, the kiwi traded lower against the greenback after New Zealand's GDP. New Zealand's GDP rose 0.8% in the fourth quarter, in line with expectations, after a 0.9% gain in the third quarter. The third's quarter figure was revised down from a 1.0% rise.
On a yearly basis, New Zealand's GDP climbed by 3.5% in the fourth quarter, after a 3.2% rise in the third quarter.
In 2014 as a whole, New Zealand's economy climbed by 3.3%, the fastest pace since 2007.
The Australian dollar fell against the U.S. dollar. In the overnight trading session, the Aussie traded lower against the greenback in the absence of any major economic reports from Australia.
The Japanese yen traded lower against the U.S. dollar. In the overnight trading session, the yen declined against the greenback in the absence of any major economic reports from Japan.
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