The U.S. dollar retreated against most of major currencies on Thursday, slipping against the Japanese yen from a more than four-year high, as a string of U.S. data fell short of expectations while Japan scored better-than- expected economic growth.
Japan's government data showed that in the first quarter of this year, the country's economy grew at a rate of 0.9 percent from the previous quarter and an annualized rate of 3.5 percent, higher than market projection. It was also the second quarter for Japan to gain positive growth.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing forward aggressive monetary measures since taking office last December. The Bank of Japan has decided to purchase 1.4 trillion dollars of bonds in the next two years to fight against the two-decade long deflation.
On the other hand, U.S. data released on Thursday were mainly negative. The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims in the week ending May 11 rose 32,000 to 360, 000, the highest level in six weeks, said the Labor Department.
U.S. housing starts in April plunged 16.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 853,000, the lowest level since November last year, the Commerce Department said Thursday.
Besides, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's factory activity index in May unexpectedly decreased to minus 5.2 from 1.3 in the prior month.
Meanwhile, the dollar snapped a five-day rise against the euro after it rallied to a six-week high in the previous trading day.
The European Union's statistics office reported on Wednesday that the euro bloc's economy shrank by 0.2 percent in the quarter, marking its sixth straight quarter in contraction and the longest recession since the currency bloc's birth.
In late New York trading, the euro rose to 1.2908 dollars from 1.2876 dollars of the previous session and the British pound climbed to 1.5307 dollars from 1.5221 dollars. The Australian dollar slipped to 0.9837 dollars from 0.9872 dollars.
The dollar bought 102.05 Japanese yen, lower than 102.31 yen of the previous session. It edged down to 0.9614 Swiss francs from 0. 9656 Swiss francs and went down to 1.0168 Canadian dollars from 1. 0176 Canadian dollars of the previous trading day.