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US dollar higher as retail sales beat expectations

H.S. Borji
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US dollar higher as retail sales beat expectations

The US dollar was higher Monday, as retail sales confirmed the US economy was regaining momentum at the end of the first quarter.

Retail revenues increased 1.1 percent in March after a revised 0.7 percent gain the previous month, the Commerce Department reported today. A consensus of economists in a Reuters survey forecast a gain of 0.8 percent.

The so-called core measure, which excludes volatile elements such as automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, also rose 0.8 percent in March. Sales excluding automobiles were up 0.7 percent, official data showed.

The pick up in March was the largest in one-and-a-half years, a sign the US economy was gaining traction after a slow start to the year. Retail receipts rose in nearly all categories, led by motor vehicle and parts dealers (9.1 percent), non store retailers (7.8 percent) and building materials (5.7 percent).

The US dollar index shot up more than 0.4 percent to 79.80. The greenback edged higher against its European rivals. The EURUSD pair lost nearly 0.3 percent, falling to 1.3817 in the early North American session. The GBPUSD shed more than 0.1 percent to 1.7613, rebounding from a session low of 1.6697.

The dollar edged higher versus the Japanese yen, gaining nearly 0.3 percent to 101.88.

The greenback was unable to rebound versus the commodity currencies, which continued to break away in the early part of the week. The AUDUSD pair rose 0.2 percent to 0.9412, extending its four-week rally to more than 4 percent.

The Canadian dollar edged higher Monday, sending the USDCAD pair to a session low of 1.0955. The pair later consolidated at 1.0961, down more than 0.1 percent from the previous close.

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