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Dollar falls as weak US data lowers rate hike outlook

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The dollar slid on Thursday as new US economic data disappointed, adding further evidence to reasons for the Federal Reserve to hold off raising interest rates.

[NEW YORK] The dollar slid on Thursday as new US economic data disappointed, adding further evidence to reasons for the Federal Reserve to hold off raising interest rates.

Signs of a slowing US economy have multiplied, including recent poor March retail sales and jobs reports.

On Thursday, government data showed US housing starts rose less than expected in March. Initial jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, increased well above estimates to their highest level in six weeks.

The euro rose to US$1.0761 around 2100 GMT from US$1.0684 at the same time Wednesday.

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Market voices on:

A speech by Atlanta Fed chief Dennis Lockhart, a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, the central bank's policy arm, also weighed on rate expectations.

"A murky economic picture is not an ideal circumstance for making a major policy decision" on beginning to raise rates, Mr Lockhart said, insisting he was presenting his own views and not speaking for the FOMC or the Fed.

"A few Federal Reserve officials noted that, for them to back raising interest rates, they need signs that the economy's struggles last quarter were temporary. It appears that the debate is shifting from whether to hike in June to whether September is too early," said Ryan Sweet of Moody's Analytics.

Greece's debt crisis was in focus after Standard & Poor's cut the country's credit rating.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said that his country is determined to remain in the eurozone, as concerns swirl over a possible debt default and an exit from the shared currency bloc.

"Until the risk of a Grexit is fully eliminated, gains in the EUR/USD will be limited," said Kathy Lien of BK Asset Management in a research note.

AFP

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