(New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments)
* U.S. consumer spending, inflation data dampen dollar
* Dollar eases from 15-day high vs yen
* Caution ahead of U.S. jobs report hurts dollar
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK, Aug 31 (Reuters) - The dollar slipped broadly on Thursday after unimpressive U.S. economic data failed to boost expectations for another Federal Reserve rate increase this year, while month-end investment flows and caution ahead of Friday’s U.S. jobs report also weighed.
The Commerce Department said consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, increased 0.3 percent last month after a 0.2 percent gain in June. Economists had forecast consumer spending rising 0.4 percent in July.
In the 12 months through July, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index excluding food and energy or “core PCE” price index increased 1.4 percent, the smallest gain since December 2015.
“With today’s still-weak inflation numbers and with the impact that (Tropical Storm) Harvey can have on just a more noisy data set for (the Fed) to try to decipher, I think it’s more likely that they push the next rate hike into the new year,” said James Brilliant, co-chief investment officer at Austin, Texas-based Century Management Investment Advisors.
The euro, which has risen more than 13 percent against the dollar this year and was set to notch its sixth straight monthly gain for August of about 0.5 percent, last traded up 0.2 percent at $1.19. That was not far from a more than 2-1/2-year high struck Tuesday of $1.2069.
Month-end investment flows also weakened the dollar, said Richard Franulovich, senior currency strategist at Westpac Banking Corp in New York. He said the underperformance of European equities compared to U.S. equities in August likely led to investment losses for certain investors, leading them to compensate by buying more European stocks and euros to meet minimum exposure requirements.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was last down 0.2 percent at 92.690 and was set for a sixth straight monthly decline in August. The dollar was also down 0.3 percent against the safe-haven yen at 109.93 yen, off a 15-day high of 110.66 touched earlier in the session.
Caution ahead of Friday’s U.S. non-farm payrolls report also halted gains that the dollar made on Wednesday and early Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters expect the report to show U.S. employers added 180,000 jobs last month, down from 209,000 in July. (Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by Alistair Bell and David Gregorio)