The US dollar and other safe haven assets were supported in early trading on Friday amid concerns over the conoravirus pandemic and a slower than expected economic recovery.
Infections are still on the rise in the United States. According to Reuters, a record 60,500 new COVID-19 infections were reported across the country on Thursday.
President Trump reacted to the news by tweeting: “For the 1/100th time, the reason we show so many Cases, compared to other countries that haven’t done nearly as well as we have, is that our TESTING is much bigger and better. We have tested 40,000,000 people. If we did 20,000,000 instead, Cases would be half, etc. NOT REPORTED!”
Speaking in Geneva on Thursday, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned: “The pandemic is still accelerating” adding that “the total number of cases has doubled in the last six weeks.”
Meanwhile, risk sensitive currencies such as the Australian dollar, which has rallied sharply since late March, traded slightly lower.
US jobless claims came in better than expected on Thursday as workers gradually returned to work. The Labor department reported that the number of initial jobless claims fell by nearly 100,000 in early July to a four-month low of 1.31 million. The figure beat analyst expectations of 1.39 million but marked the 15th consecutive week above 1 million.
Mohamed A. El-Erian, Chief Economic Adviser at Allianz, put the report in perspective, tweeting: “Numbers are out. A beat on both: This week’s initial jobless claims came in at 1.31 million, down from the revised prior week’s 1.41mm; and Continuing claims edged down to 18.06 mm (from a revised 18.76 mm) Bottom line: Right direction but overall levels remain worrisome.”