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Dollar Surges Against Pound After UK Government Resignations

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The dollar has leaped against the British pound Thursday in the wake of some high profile UK government resignations. Traders are also reacting to a deluge of U.S. economic data.

Retail sales in the U.S. increased by more than anticipated in the month of October, the Commerce Department revealed in a report released on Thursday. The Commerce Department said retail sales advanced by 0.8 percent in October following a revised 0.1 percent dip in September.

Economists had expected retail sales to climb by 0.5 percent compared to the 0.1 percent uptick originally reported for the previous month.

First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly showed a slight increase in the week ended November 10th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday. The report said initial jobless claims inched up to 216,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 214,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 212,000.

A report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Thursday showed the pace of growth in New York manufacturing activity unexpectedly accelerated in the month of November.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions index rose to 23.3 in November from 21.1 in October, with a positive reading indicating growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to dip to 20.0.

Growth in Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity slowed by much more than expected in the month of November, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on Thursday.

The Philly Fed said its diffusion index for current general activity tumbled to 12.9 in November from 22.2 in September, although a positive reading still indicates growth in regional manufacturing activity. The index had been expected to dip to 20.0.

A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed U.S. import and export prices both rose by more than expected in the month of October.

The Labor Department said import prices climbed by 0.5 percent in October after rising by a downwardly revised 0.2 in September.

Economists had expected import prices to inch up by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.5 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the report said export prices rose by 0.4 percent in October after coming in unchanged in September. Export prices had also been expected to tick up by 0.1 percent.

Business inventories in the U.S. increased in line with economist estimates in the month of September, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday. The Commerce Department said business inventories rose by 0.3 percent in September after climbing by 0.5 percent in August. Economists had expected inventories to rise by 0.3 percent.

The dollar rose to an early high of $1.1270 against the Euro Thursday, but has since retreated to around $1.1350.

U.K. Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Junior Brexit minister Suella Braverman quit from the government, protesting against Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plans.

Raab announced that his resignation was due to disagreement over "the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland" that poses "a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom."

Raab's departure came shortly after the resignations of Work and Pensions minister Esther McVey and Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara over the plans.

The resignations of cabinet ministers are a big blow to Prime Minister Theresa May, who is struggling to get support from lawmakers in Parliament to accept the agreement with the European Union.

The buck has surged to a 2-week high of $1.2775 against the pound sterling Thursday afternoon, from an early low of $1.3030.

UK retail sales declined for a second straight month in October, defying expectations for an increase, amid a sharp decrease in sales of household goods, preliminary data from the Office for National Statistics showed on Thursday.

Sales volume including automotive fuel dropped 0.5 percent from September, when they fell 0.4 percent, revised from a 0.8 percent slump. Economists had forecast a 0.2 percent increase.

On a year-on-year basis, retail sales volume grew 2.2 percent in October, which was the slowest pace in six months. Economists were looking for a 2.8 percent gain.

The greenback slid to an early low of Y113.097 against the Japanese Yen Thursday, but has since bounced back to around Y113.575.

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