GBP/USD edges lower after upbeat U.S. data

The pound edged lower against the U.S. dollar on Thursday, as upbeat U.S. jobless claims data sent the greenback broadly higher, while the Bank of England kept monetary policy on hold.

GBP/USD hit 1.6724 during U.S. morning trade, the session low; the pair subsequently consolidated at 1.6772, falling 0.12%.

Cable was likely to find support at 1.6658, the low of March 5 and resistance at 1.6823, the high of February 17.

The greenback strengthened broadly after the Labor Department reported that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending April 4 fell by 30,000 to a seasonally adjusted 300,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised total of 332,000.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to decline to 320,000.

Continuing jobless claims declined to 2.77 million, the lowest since January 2008.

The data came a day after the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s March meeting indicated that an interest rate increase is unlikely to be warranted for some time.

The Fed’s March meeting minutes released on Wednesday showed that policymakers discussed whether to keep interest rates at record lows until inflation moves higher, and did not elaborate on a possible timeframe for when rates could start to rise.

The minutes also indicated growing concerns among officials over persistently low inflation.

Last month the U.S. central bank reduced the monthly pace of purchases by $10 billion, to $55 billion, and repeated it is likely to continue paring the program in “further measured steps.”

Earlier Thursday, the BoE said it was maintaining the benchmark interest rate at 0.50%, in a widely anticipated move. The bank also said it was to maintain the stock of asset purchases financed by the issuance of central bank reserves at £375 billion.

Sterling was lower against the euro, with EUR/GBP rising 0.24% to 0.8269.