* U.S. GDP data revised higher
* U.S. jobs data stronger-than-expected
* New Zealand dollar hovers near 2 1/2-yr high
(Updates prices, adds analyst comments, changes byline,
dateline; previous LONDON)
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK, March 27 The dollar edged higher
against the euro and the yen on Thursday after upbeat U.S.
economic data, while the New Zealand dollar hovered near a
2-1/2-year high after economic data and hints that the country's
central bank could raise interest rates.
The Commerce Department said U.S. fourth-quarter gross
domestic product rose at a 2.6 percent annual rate, up from the
2.4 percent pace reported last month. The Labor Department,
meanwhile, said initial claims for U.S. state unemployment
benefits dropped to the lowest since November.
The data put the U.S. Federal Reserve "squarely on pace" to
continue cutting its monthly asset purchases and raise
short-term interest rates in the first half of 2015, said Omer
Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in
Investors had bought the dollar last week after Fed Chair
Janet Yellen suggested the possibility of raising interest rates
early next year, or about six months after its current
bond-buying program ends.
The dollar got another boost against the euro on Tuesday,
when European Central Bank policymakers hinted at a softening of
monetary policy. The ECB holds its next policy meeting on April
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the dollar
against six major currencies, was last up 0.02 percent at
80.047. The euro was last down 0.11 percent against the dollar
at $1.3766, while the dollar was last up 0.15 percent against
the Japanese yen at 102.2.
The New Zealand dollar hovered near a a 2-1/2 year high of
$0.8680, which it hit earlier in the day on a sharp
rise in the country's trade surplus for February and a
policymaker's comments signaling that the country could tighten
monetary policy further by raising interest rates.
Reserve Bank of New Zealand Deputy Governor Grant Spencer
said the limits on low deposit, high risk home loans were worth
up to 50 basis points in interest rate hikes, which began to
rise from record lows earlier this month.
He also said the lending limits, imposed in October, had
reduced upwards pressure on the New Zealand dollar, and stressed
that they were not intended to be permanent.
"Spencer's comments are consistent with an outlook for
rising interest rates in New Zealand," said Esiner of
The Norwegian crown rose to a 10-day high against the euro
, meanwhile, after the country's central bank kept
its rate path unchanged for 2014 and 2015, wrongfooting some
investors who had expected it to flag the chance of looser
While the Norwegian central bank's comments drove up the
Norwegian crown on the day, the central bank's policy statements
are volatile and could change in the near-term, said Axel Merk,
chief investment officer of Merk Investments in Palo Alto, CA.
(Additional reporting by Patrick Graham in London)