The dollar was little changed on Thursday despite the release of a disappointing jobs report. The currency remained near a two-month high as expectations of a rate hike next week continue to find support.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported that jobless claims increased by 20,000 to 243,000 last week. Jobless claims came in at 223,000 the previous week. Analysts were expecting claims to come in at 235,000, an increase of 12,000.
The dollar gained on Wednesday after ADP, a payroll processor, reported that the private sector added 298,000 jobs in February. The estimate far surpassed forecasts of a 190,000 increase. The report marked the largest private sector hiring increase in more than a decade.
Investors are turning their focus to Friday’s government jobs report. An upbeat report may justify a rate increase from the Federal Reserve at next week’s monetary policy meeting.
The euro gained 0.16% against the dollar, trading at 1.0556. The pound was little changed against the greenback at 1.2172.
The single currency eased after the European Central Bank opted to keep interest rates unchanged.
The Australian dollar weakened against its U.S. counterpart, falling 0.12% to 0.7518. The greenback gained 0.27% against the yen to trade at 114.65.
Meanwhile, crude oil slipped below $50 a barrel after reports show a build in inventory.
Crude oil supply in the U.S. surged to 528.4 million barrels last week, up 8.2 million barrels from the previous week.
The figure far surpassed forecasts of a 2 million barrel increase.
U.S. crude stocks have been steadily increasing, sparking fears that steady increasing stockpiles may undermine OPEC’s agreement to reduce output.
OPEC members and other exports agreed last year to reduce output by 1.8 million barrels per day.
U.S. light crude fell to a low of $48.79 before recovering slightly and trading at $49.20 per barrel. Brent crude slid to $52.06 per barrel after hitting a low of $51.60 per barrel.