Euro slides vs dollar as Draghi repeats low-rate policy
* Draghi says euro zone growth risks tilted to the downside
* U.S. jobless claims drop to 5-1/2-year low
* Dollar/yen up more than 1 percent
The euro fell against the dollar on Thursday, on track for its weakest day in three weeks, after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi affirmed that interest rates in the euro zone will remain low for an extended period.
Draghi, in a press briefing after the ECB left rates unchanged, also said the risks to growth in the region are tilted to the downside, warranting a loose monetary policy.
"Draghi maintained his dovish stance from last month, hurting the euro," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotia Capital in Toronto.
The euro slid to $1.3196 after Draghi's statement, the lowest in about a week. It was last at $1.3234, down 0.5 percent, its largest daily percentage fall since July 9.
Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York, however, said he does not expect further easing from the ECB, since the euro zone's economic performance so far was in line with the ECB's forecast.
"The bar is high to additional easing," Chandler said.
The dollar was in demand pretty much across the board, with the greenback rising more than 1 percent versus the yen. It was last at 98.84 yen and was on pace for its best daily performance in nearly a month,
The dollar index rose 0.8 percent to 82.072, also its largest daily rise since early July.
A report showing that U.S. jobless claims fell to their lowest in five and a half years also boosted the dollar.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000, the lowest since January 2008, the Labor Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a rise to 345,000.
"Overall, this is a tentative signal that the labor market remains pretty healthy, and puzzlingly so to some extent, given that hiring has substantially outpaced its typical relationship to gross domestic product in the last few quarters," said Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC World Markets in Toronto.