Dollar Weakens Ahead of U.S. Retail Sales Data Release

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By Jacob Maslow

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the American dollar’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of a number of major currencies, was down by 0.20% at 98.92 ahead of the scheduled release of U.S. retail sales data later in the day.

Analysts look at U.S. retail sales data to gauge the likelihood of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates.

The greenback shed 0.58% of its value against the Japanese yen at 117.37 early Friday.

While the euro gained against the U.S. dollar by 0.43% trading at 1.0911, analysts are attributing this as a rebound effect from Thursday’s Renault investigation by French authorities.

Against the pound, however, the dollar remained higher with the British currency down by 0.45% trading to a new 5-½ year low of 1.4348.

Elsewhere, demand for safe-haven currencies, Japanese yen and Swiss franc, have skyrocketed following the weakening of the U.S. dollar amid continuing concerns over declining oil prices.

The persistent oil rout adversely affected the commodity-related currencies of Australia and New Zealand with the Aussie dollar slumping 1.58% close to 6-year lows at 0.6873 and the Kiwi dollar dropping 1.19% to 3-month lows at 0.6400.

The Brent crude, the global benchmark, plunged to its lowest level since 2004 at $29.93 a barrel on Friday.

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