The dollar dropped across the board on Thursday after weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data, although its outlook remained upbeat as many investors continued to price in an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve some time this year. The dollar index, a gauge of its value against six major currencies, fell after two straight days of gains. For the month of February, the dollar index was down 0.5 percent, on track for its first monthly loss in eight months.
U.S. retail sales fell 0.8 percent last month, while jobless claims rose above 300,000 in the latest week.
“There’s obviously disappointment over the weak headline numbers, although these numbers should not alter rate hike expectations to any significant degree,” said Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist, at TD Securities in Toronto. “Most of what Fed governors are telling us seems to be that the second half of the year is a good time to expect the first hike. They won’t react to one or two numbers.”