Investing.com - The dollar extended gains and re-approached recent one-and-a-half month highs against other major currencies on Thursday, as a string of upbeat U.S. data added to optimism over the strength of the economy and amid fresh hopes for a December rate hike.
The greenback was boosted after the U.S. Department of Labor said initial jobless claims fell more than expected to 260,000 last week.
Additional reports showed that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed in August, as exports climbed to a two-and-a-half year high, while factory orders increased more than analysts had projected.
The dollar was also strengthened after Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker said on Thursday that he is still planning on one more rate hike this year and three next year.
"I still have three rate hikes in for next year, but again we will have to see how the dynamics play out," Harker said, speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Austin, Texas.
The euro weakened after the minutes of the European Central Bank's September meeting showed that members remain concerned over the volatility of the single currency and some suggested that the economy may still need substantial stimulus for a little longer period of time.
The single currency was already fragile after the regional government of Catalonia announced on Wednesday that they will declare independence from Spain on Monday, adding to tensions in the region.
Meanwhile, USD/CAD was up 0.38% at 1.2524, just off a six-week high of 1.2552 hit earlier in the session after Statistics Canada said the country's trade deficit widened to C$3.41 billion in August from C$2.98 billion the previous month.
Analysts had expected the trade deficit to narrow to C$2.60 billion in August.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.35% at 93.65 by 10:50 a.m. ET (14:50 GMT), re-approaching Tuesday's one-and-a-half month high of 93.78.
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