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Dollar trims losses against euro, near 2-1/2 year highs vs. yen

By: Investing.com
Posted: 1/17/2013 12:13:00 PM
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Investing.com - The U.S. dollar eased off session lows against the euro and was close to two-and-a-half-year highs against the yen on Thursday, after data showed that U.S. jobless claims hit a five-year low last week, while U.S. housing starts rose at the fastest pace in four years in December.

During U.S. morning trade, the greenback was lower against the euro, with EUR/USD up 0.49% to 1.3353, off session highs of 1.3378.

The U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits last week fell by 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted five-year low of 335,000, compared to expectations for a decline of 7,000 to 365,000.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said U.S. housing starts jumped by 12.1% in December to an annual unit rate of 0.954 million, the highest level since 2008, compared to expectations for a 3.3% increase to 0.890 million.

A separate report showed that the Philly Fed's manufacturing index fell to minus 5.8 in January from 4.6 the previous month, compared to expectations for a reading of 5.8.

The dollar was close to two-and-a-half-year highs against the yen, with USD/JPY rallying 1.21% to 89.43.

The yen weakened as renewed expectations for more aggressive easing steps by the Bank of Japan at next Tuesday's policy meeting weighed.

The greenback hit seven-week lows against the pound, with GBP/USD falling 0.25% to 1.5966.

Sentiment on the pound remained fragile after a recent string of weak economic data fuelled fears that the U.K. economy slipped back into a recession in the fourth quarter.

The greenback was higher against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF rising 0.24% to 0.9331.

The greenback was broadly higher against its Canadian, Australian and New Zealand counterparts, with USD/CAD dipping 0.03% to 0.9854, AUD/USD down 0.40% to 1.0529 and NZD/USD slipping 0.11% to 0.8400.

In Canada, official data showed that investment in foreign securities strengthened to USD7.8 billion in November, while foreign investment in Canadian securities slowed to USD5.6 billion.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.09% to 79.77.

Elsewhere Thursday, the European Central Bank's monthly report said it expected economic weakness in the euro zone to continue this year, but added that the economy should begin to recover gradually later in the year.



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