NEW YORK, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) — The U.S. dollar strengthened against most major currencies on Friday, lifted by better-than- expected U.S. economic data.
The positive U.S. economic data released Friday fuelled speculations that the Federal Reserve would start to trim its massive monetary stimulus this year, which supported the dollar.
U.S. homebuilders broke ground on more homes in July boosted by apartment construction, evidence of a recovering property market, the Commerce Department reported on Friday. Data showed that U.S. privately-owned housing rose 5.9 percent in July.
Moreover, non-farm business sector labor productivity grew at an annual rate of 0.9 percent in the second quarter of the year, as output increased more rapidly than hours worked, the Labor Department said on Friday.
However, the dollar’s gain was limited as U.S. consumer sentiment for August slipped from a six-year high. The preliminary reading on consumer sentiment fell to 80.0 in August from 85.1 in July, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index.
In late New York trading, the euro fell to 1.3336 dollars from 1.3347 of the previous session and the British pound climbed to 1. 5642 dollars from 1.5640. The Australian dollar increased to 0. 9199 dollars from 0.9138.
The dollar bought 97.50 Japanese yen, higher than 97.39 of the previous session. It edged up to 0.9260 Swiss francs from 0.9257 and went up to 1.0324 Canadian dollars from 1.0302.