NEW YORK, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. dollar rose against major currencies in late New York trading on Thursday, lifted by risk- aversion investments as global economic concerns grew in markets and investors rushed to seek refuge.
Morgan Stanley on Thursday cut its forecast for global growth, saying the debt problems in both U.S. and eurozone were the major threat.
Meanwhile, U.S. economic reports due out on Thursday also cast shadows on the economic concerns. The U.S. Labor Department said initial jobless claims last week rose 9,000 to 408,000, showing the job markets were still weak.
The government agency also reported that consumer price index, which measures the rate of inflation at the retail level, increased 0.3 percent in July, the largest gain since March, suggesting mounting inflation risks.
The housing markets in the U.S. were still in a bad shape. According to National Association of Realtors, the existing home sales dropped 3.5 percent in July to 4.67 million. The figure was well below previous estimates of 4.92 million.
The U.S. equity markets were hit hard by gloomy global economic prospect on Thursday. Risk-aversion mood emerged in the markets as investors rushed to buy safer assets to hedge risks. The dollar, which is traditionally regarded as safe-haven currency, was lifted as the dollar index rose 0.68 percent to 74.18 on Thursday.
Swiss franc continued to slip against the greenback as Swiss National Bank, the country's central bank, announced additional steps to avoid the rise of Swiss franc. Also the Swiss government said it would provide aid to alleviate the impact to the economy in the case of recent rally of its currency.
In late Thursday trading, the dollar bought 76.54 yen, as against 76.48 yen late Wednesday, while the euro fell to 1.4319 dollars from 1.4451.
The British pound dropped to 1.6496 dollars from 1.6566. The dollar rose from 0.7895 Swiss francs to 0.7924, and 0.9908 Canadian dollars from 0.9805.