Dollar index jumps after U.S. retail sales show surprise rebound



(Updates to after U.S. retail data, changes dateline, previous LONDON)

* U.S. retail sales show surprise rebound in August

* Weekly U.S. jobless claims slightly above expectations

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The dollar hit a near 3-week high against a basket of currencies on Thursday after data showed U.S. retail sales unexpectedly increased in August, easing some concerns about a sharp slowdown in economic growth.

The dollar index =USD , which measures the U.S. currency against six others, added to gains following the report and was last up 0.5% at 92.923. It hit its highest level since Aug. 27.

Retail sales rose 0.7% last month, boosted in part by back-to-school shopping and child tax credit payments, while data for July was revised down.

A separate report showed U.S. initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 332,000 for the week ended Sept. 11. Economists had forecast 330,000 applications for the latest week.

"If you look at the retail sales number, it's quite constructive even with the revisions, so we are seeing the dollar benefit from that, particularly against the funding currencies like the euro, Swiss and the yen," said Bipan Rai, North American head of FX strategy for CIBC Capital Markets in Toronto.

The news could bolster investor expectations for next week's Federal Reserve policy meeting and how soon the U.S central bank will start to taper stimulus.

"It feels like whatever lingering concerns there were with the underlying economy ... that was kind of washed away a little bit. So as we move towards the Fed next week, the evidence backs up the idea that we're going to get a taper signal from the Fed at the meeting," he said.

On Tuesday, the dollar index fell to a one-week low of 92.321 after a softer-than-expected inflation report. Its low for the month was 91.941, on Sept. 3, when payrolls data disappointed.

Investors are looking for clarity on the outlook for both tapering and interest rates at the Fed's two-day policy meeting that ends next Wednesday.

Tapering typically lifts the dollar as it suggests the Fed is one step closer to tighter monetary policy.

It also means the central bank will be buying fewer debt assets, in effect reducing the amount of dollars in circulation, which in turn lifts the currency's value.

The dollar also gained 0.3% to 109.68 yen JPY=EBS , after sliding to a six-week low of 109.110 in the previous session.

The euro EUR=EBS was 0.5% lower at $1.1758.

The Swiss franc also fell against the dollar and was last at 0.9260 francs. CHF=EBS

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar AUD=D3 was down 0.7% at $0.7285.

Earlier, data showed the country's jobless rate unexpectedly fell to 4.5%, but the statistics bureau said the change reflected a drop in the participation rate rather than a strengthening of the labor market.

========================================================

Currency bid prices at 10:35AM (1435 GMT) Description

RIC

Last

U.S. Close Pct Change

YTD Pct

High Bid

Low Bid

Previous

Change

Session

Dollar index

=USD

92.9230

92.4620

+0.51%

3.270%

+92.9650

+92.4570 Euro/Dollar

EUR=EBS

$1.1758

$1.1816

-0.49%

-3.76%

+$1.1820

+$1.1751 Dollar/Yen

JPY=EBS

109.6800

109.3800

+0.28%

+6.16%

+109.8250 +109.2100 Euro/Yen

EURJPY=

128.95

129.20

-0.19%

+1.60%

+129.3400 +128.6100 Dollar/Swiss

CHF=EBS

0.9260

0.9197

+0.69%

+4.67%

+0.9271

+0.9195 Sterling/Dollar GBP=D3

$1.3768

$1.3843

-0.54%

+0.78%

+$1.3852

+$1.3765 Dollar/Canadian CAD=D3

1.2687

1.2624

+0.52%

-0.35%

+1.2699

+1.2618 Aussie/Dollar

AUD=D3

$0.7285

$0.7334

-0.67%

-5.30%

+$0.7345

+$0.7279 Euro/Swiss

EURCHF=

1.0888

1.0865

+0.21%

+0.75%

+1.0895

+1.0858 Euro/Sterling

EURGBP=

0.8537

0.8537

+0.00%

-4.48%

+0.8543

+0.8501 NZ

NZD=D3

$0.7067

$0.7110

-0.63%

-1.62%

+$0.7140

+$0.7063 Dollar/Dollar

Dollar/Norway

NOK=D3

8.6360

8.5755

+0.78%

+0.65%

+8.6470

+8.5725 Euro/Norway

EURNOK=

10.1562

10.1265

+0.29%

-2.97%

+10.1679

+10.1130 Dollar/Sweden

SEK=

8.6424

8.5694

+0.24%

+5.44%

+8.6512

+8.5700 Euro/Sweden

EURSEK=

10.1622

10.1380

+0.24%

+0.86%

+10.1710

+10.1360



World FX rates Link



Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch
Additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho in London and Kevin Buckland in Tokyo
Editing by Alexander Smith and Mark Potter

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