Euro edges up against the dollar to above USD 1.35

The euro moved slightly higher against the U.S. dollar in trading Friday as mixed economic signals from the United States portended job and manufacturing increases but slower economic growth in the short term.

The 13-nation currency bought US$1.3502 in morning European trading, slightly above the US$1.3492 it bought the night before in New York, and nearly 2 U.S. cents off its all-time high of US$1.3682, set on April 27.

The slight uptick came after the U.S. Labor Department reported that jobless claims fell last week for the fifth straight week and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's manufacturing index that showed a wider-than-anticipated increase in May, indicating stronger expansion.

But data from the Conference Board pointed to weaker economic growth over the next three to six months. The board's index of leading economic indicators dropped 0.5 percent, higher than the 0.1 decline analysts expected.

Economic data are being watched closely for clues on the Federal Reserve's future interest rate course.

Higher interest rates, used to combat inflation, can bolster a currency by making certain types of investments more attractive.

The Fed's current rate is 5.25 percent while the European Central Bank's benchmark rate is 3.75 percent, but the ECB is expected to raise that to 4 percent next month. The Bank of England raised its key rate to 5.5 percent earlier this month.

The British pound fell to US$1.9728 from US$1.9743, while the dollar rose to 121.36 Japanese yen, compared with 121.27 yen the night before.

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