WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - The U.S. dollar stayed stronger against most major currencies on Friday, extending recent gains, thanks to upbeat economic data.
The euro's weakness ahead of next week's Parliamentary elections in Europe and the British Pound Sterling's fall to a multi-month low due to rising concerns about Brexit kept the greenback up in positive territory right through the session on Friday.
The dollar index, which rose to 98.01, was up 0.13% at 97.98 in late afternoon trades.
The euro fetched $1.1160 dollar, 0.17% less than $1.1179 on Thursday, with weak consumer inflation data and caution ahead of parliamentary elections weighing on the currency.
Although the European currency found some support after the U.S. officially announced that it would delay imposing tariffs on cars imported from EU, it failed to make any significant move up as trade worries persisted.
Data released by Eurostat showed Eurozone's core inflation, which excludes prices of energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, accelerated in April at a faster than estimated pace to its highest level in two years.
Core inflation climbed to 1.3% in April, higher than the initial estimate of 1.2%. In March, the figure was 0.8%.
The consumer price index rose 1.7% year-on-year following a 1.4% increase in March, in line with its flash estimate. Headline Inflation was the highest since November, when prices rose 1.9%.
The Pound Sterling dropped to a four-month low with a unit fetching $1.2719, declining from $1.2809. Sterling tumbled as talks between Labour and the government aimed at breaking the Brexit impasse ended without an agreement today. Primer Minister Theresa May blamed the Labour Party's pro second referendum faction for failure of talks.
The yen was weak as well against the greenback. It was trading at 110.02 yen a dollar, down 0.16% from previous close.
Amid escalation in trade tensions, China's yuan hit a fresh low for the year, falling 0.5% to 6.9187 a dollar. According to a report in Reuters, some unamed sources said the Chinese central bank is likely to use foreign exchange intervention and monetary policy tools to ensure the yuan doesn't fall below 7 per dollar mark in the near term.
The dollar gained modest ground against the loonie and Swiss franc, and moved up nearly 0.4% against the Aussie.
In U.S. economic news, According to the report from the University of Michigan, consumer sentiment improved substantially in the month of May. The consumer sentiment index surged up to 102.4 in May from 97.2 in April, reaching its highest level in fifteen years. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 97.5.
The much bigger than expected increase by the headline index came as the index of consumer expectations soared to 96.0 in May from 87.4 in April.
'Consumers viewed prospects for the overall economy much more favorably, with the economic outlook for the near and longer term reaching their highest levels since 2004,' said Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin.
However, Curtin noted, 'The gains were recorded mostly before the trade negotiations with China collapsed and China responded with their own tariffs.'
Meanwhile, a reading on leading U.S. economic indicators rose by slightly less than expected in the month of April, according to a report released by the Conference Board on Friday.
The Conference Board said its leading economic index edged up by 0.2% in April after climbing by a revised 0.3% in March.
Economists had expected the index to rise by 0.3% compared to the 0.4% increase originally reported for the previous month.
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