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Dollar Losing Ground As Year End Approaches


The dollar is down against all of its major rivals Thursday afternoon. Trading activity remains rather subdued following the Christmas holiday and ahead of the upcoming New Year's Day holiday. There was little news to drive the direction of trading as the end draws closer to an end, with the exception of a pair of mixed U.S. economic reports this morning.

First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly came in unchanged in the week ended December 23rd, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday. The report said initial jobless claims came in at 245,000, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised level. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 240,000.

Chicago-area business activity unexpectedly expanded at a faster rate in the month of December, MNI Indicators revealed in a report on Thursday. MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer climbed to 67.6 in December from 63.9 in November, with a reading above 50 indicating growth.

The increase surprised economists, who had expected the business barometer to drop to 62.0. The unexpected advance lifted the index to its highest level since March of 2011.

Eurozone's economic expansion remains solid and broad-based, and is expected to sustain its strong momentum into next year, the European Central Bank said in its regular bulletin.

"Overall, incoming data are generally pointing to unabated upside growth momentum in the fourth quarter of 2017 and around the turn of the year, with robust growth expected to continue in 2018," the ECB said.

That said, the 19-nation economy still need the support from abundant monetary stimulus to see a return of inflation to near 2 percent, despite a strong and broad-based expansion in output, the bank said.
The dollar has tumbled to a 1-month low of $1.1950 against the Euro Thursday afternoon, from an early high of $1.1896.

The buck has fallen to around $1.3445 against the pound sterling this afternoon, from an early high of $1.3396.

UK mortgage approvals declined to a 15-month low in November, data from UK Finance showed Thursday. The number of mortgages approved in November fell to 39,507 from 40,417 in October. This was the lowest since August 2016, when approvals totaled 38,308.

The UK private sector growth picked up in the fourth quarter, the Confederation of British Industry said Thursday. According to the latest growth indicator, the balance of firms reporting a rise in output was +19 percent, compared with +6 percent in the three months to November.

The greenback dropped to a low of Y112.658 against the Japanese Yen Thursday, but has since bounced back to around Y112.875.

Industrial output in Japan climbed a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent on month in November, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in Thursday's preliminary reading. That beat expectations for an increase of 0.5 percent, which would have been unchanged from the October reading.

Retail sales in Japan were up a seasonally adjusted 1.9 percent on month in November, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Thursday. That beat forecasts for a gain of 0.7 percent following the downwardly revised 0.1 percent contraction in October.

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