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Dollar Loses Ground On Weak Data, Massive Fiscal Stimulus

The U.S. dollar saw a weak session on Friday, extending recent slide, weighed down by recent weak economic data and the government’s massive fiscal stimulus worth $2 trillion.

President Donald Trump signed the stimulus bill designed to respond to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic after the House voted to approve it this afternoon.

The vote from the House happened after the package was unanimously approved the Senate late Wednesday.

The massive bill includes $250 billion in direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies.

The legislation will purportedly provide direct payments of $1,200 to individuals making up to $75,000 a year, $2,400 to couples making up to $150,000 and an additional $500 per child.

The bill also reportedly includes $130 billion in funding for hospitals as well as $150 billion for state and local governments.

The dollar index dropped to 98.27, giving up nearly 1.1% from previous close.

Against the Euro, the dollar weakened to $1.1136, giving up nearly 1%.

The pound sterling was stronger by more than 2% at $1.2459.

The Yen strengthened to 107.93 a dollar, from 109.68 a dollar Thursday evening.

Against the Aussie, the was lower by about 1.7% with the AUD-USD pair trading at 0.6165.

Against Swiss franc, the dollar was down more than 1% at 0.9517. Against the loonie, it was down slightly at 1.4007.

The Canadian central bank today reduced its benchmark rate unexpectedly to cushion the economic shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BoC lowered its target for the overnight rate by 50 basis points to 0.25%.

The Governing Council is willing to take further action as required to support the Canadian economy and financial system and to keep inflation on target, the bank said.

revised data from the University of Michigan showed consumer sentiment in the U.S. deteriorated by much more than initially estimated in the month of March.

The report said the consumer sentiment index for March was downwardly revised to 89.1 from the preliminary reading of 95.9.

The consumer sentiment index is now down sharply from the final February reading of 101.0, reflecting the fourth largest one-month decline in nearly a half-century.

The Commerce Department’s report showed personal income climbed by 0.6% in February, matching the increase seen in January. Economists had expected income to rise by 0.4%.

Meanwhile, personal spending edged up by 0.2% for the second straight month, matching expectations.

According to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday, initial jobless claims skyrocketed to 3,283,000 in the week ended March 21, an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 282,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to spike to about 1.5 million from the 281,000 originally reported for the previous week.

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