The dollar rose to fresh four-and-a-half year highs against a basket of other major currencies on Thursday as the euro weakened after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi reaffirmed its commitment to unconventional measures.
The US dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, hit highs of 88.03 and was last up 0.42% to 87.88.
EUR/USD fell to lows of 1.2398, the weakest level since August 2012, from around 1.2525 ahead of the announcement and was last down 0.42% to 1.2430.
The drop in the euro came after Draghi said the ECB would soon start purchases of asset-backed securities. The program will run for two years, and have a “sizeable impact” on the ECB’s balance sheet Draghi said, moving it towards its 2012 levels.
He added that the governing council is unanimously committed to taking further “timely measures”, if needed.
The ECB left rates on hold at record lows at its policy meeting earlier Thursday, as widely expected.
The dollar was almost unchanged against the yen, with USD/JPY at 114.61, holding below the seven year highs of 115.52 struck overnight.
The greenback was boosted after the Labor Department reported that the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week fell by 10,000 to 278,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 288,000.
The report came a day after a strong U.S. private sector employment report and boosted the outlook for Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report.
The pound was close to one year lows, with GBP/USD down 0.39% to 1.5910 after the Bank of England left monetary policy on hold earlier.
Elsewhere, USD/CHF added 0.49% to trade at 0.9688.
USD/CAD rose 0.33% to 1.1424, not far from Wednesday’s more than five year highs of 1.1465.
The Australian and New Zealand dollars steadied following steep declines overnight as the rout in global commodity prices weighed.
AUD/USD was almost unchanged at 0.8589, holding above the more than four-year trough of 0.8554 struck overnight. NZD/USD slid 0.13% to 0.7717, not far from a 17-month low of 0.7668.