The U.S. dollar remained broadly lower against other major currencies on Friday, after the release of downbeat U.S. housing sector data and as U.S. political turmoil continued to weigh.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported on Friday that housing starts decreased 7.0% to 1.236 million units last month, compared to forecasts for an increase to 1.290 million units.
The report also showed that building permits fell 5.7% to 1.298 million units in February, disappointing expectations for a rise to 1.320 million units.
The greenback had already weakened after the Washington Post reported on Thursday that U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to replace his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster.
The move followed the President’s unexpected decision on Tuesday to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Adding to concerns over U.S. politics, fears of potential trade wars were reignited after Donald Trump announced plans this week to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports, specifically targeting the technology and telecommunications sectors.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.19% at 89.97 by 08:50 a.m. ET (12:50 GMT), off a one-week high of 90.17 hit overnight.
The euro and the pound were still higher, with EUR/USD up 0.14% at 1.2323 and with GBP/USD rising 0.24% to 1.3971.
Earlier Friday, Eurostat reported that the euro zone consumer price index rose 1.1% in February from the same month a year earlier. Economists had expected annual inflation to rise by 1.2%.
The European Central Bank targets a headline inflation rate of close to, but just below 2%.
The yen and the Swiss franc were also stronger, with USD/JPY retreating 0.58% to 105.71 and with USD/CHF slipping 0.15% to trade at 0.9500.
Elsewhere, the Australian and New Zealand dollars remained lower, with AUD/USD down 0.42% at 0.7765 and with NZD/USD retreating 0.47% to 0.7243.
Meanwhile, USD/CAD edged up 0.15% to trade at 1.3073 after Statistics Canada reported that manufacturing sales declined 1.0% in January, confounding expectations for a 0.8% slide.