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Dollar strengthens after US inflation data; pound jumps on report UK may get 2-year Brexit extension

Matt Cardy | Getty Images

The dollar rose on Thursday after a report showing a rise in U.S. producer prices in September helped shake off some weakness caused by Wednesday's release of U.S. Federal Reserve meeting minutes that highlighted policymakers' more cautious outlook toward inflation.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against six major currencies, was up 0.04 percent at 93.06. The index was on pace to snap a four-day losing streak, the longest such stretch in about three months.

"The minutes were a bit on the dovish side in the sense that a lot of the conversation piece was around inflation and inflationary pressure or lack thereof," said Minh Trang, senior currency trader at Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, California.

The minutes from the last Fed meeting showed many policymakers still felt that another rate increase this year "was likely to be warranted," but several said additional tightening depended on upcoming inflation data.

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On Thursday, the greenback found some support after the Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand increased 0.4 percent last month after rising 0.2 percent in August.

Separately, data showed applications for unemployment benefits dropped to a more than one-month low last week as the boost to claims in Texas and Florida from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma continued to unwind.

Given the storms, "I would take some of the numbers that are coming out this month with a grain of salt, knowing that there is some opaqueness in whats going on," said Trang.

Traders will now focus on consumer price data due on Friday.

Meanwhile, sterling bounced off a three-day low after German paper Handelsblatt reported the UK could remain in the EU without voting rights for another two years. Earlier, the currency traded lower.

Dollar index slides

The two sides had not made major progress this week in talks about Britain's exit from the bloc and are stuck over how much the country should pay when it leaves, negotiator Michel Barnier said on Thursday.

Sterling was up 0.34 percent at $1.3266.

The euro was 0.19 percent lower against the greenback at $1.1834.

The euro rose to a more than two-week high of $1.188 earlier in the session after Catalonia stopped short of formally declaring independence from Spain, putting a floor under the common currency.