The U.S. dollar retreated against most major currencies on Thursday and fell sharply against the euro as the European Central Bank refrained from further monetary stimulus.
The ECB held its benchmark interest rate at 0.25 percent at its monthly meeting. Inflation in the eurozone, which was at 0.8 percent in February, will rise 1 percent this year and increase to 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, said ECB President Mario Draghi at a press conference following the meeting.
Draghi also said ECB policymakers concluded that economic conditions did not require shifts in monetary policy, indicating there was no need to add more stimulus, which boosted the euro to a two-month high against the dollar.
On the economic front, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 323,000 last week, a decrease of 26, 000 from the previous week's revised figure of 349,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists had forecast the claims to drop to 338,000.
However, New orders for manufactured goods in January decreased 0.7 percent, more than expected, said the Commerce Department Thursday. Excluding volatile sector transportation, however, new orders increased 0.2 percent.
Recent economic weakness is not enough to alter the Federal Reserve's plan to cut back its massive asset buying program at coming policy meetings, New York Fed President William Dudley told Wall Street Journal Thursday.
Investors are also expecting the closely-watched nonfarm payrolls report for February due out Friday by the Labor Department.
In late New York trading, the euro jumped to 1.3860 dollars from 1.3731 dollars in the previous session, and the British pound increased to 1.6742 dollars from 1.6712 dollars. The Australian dollar climbed to 0.9096 dollars from 0.8983 dollars.
The dollar bought 103.05 Japanese yen, higher than 102.32 yen of the previous session. The dollar moved down to 0.8805 Swiss francs from 0.8877 Swiss francs, and it went down to 1.0984 Canadian dollars from 1.1037 Canadian dollars.