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Dollar Inching Higher As Weekend Draws Near

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The dollar has recovered from its early weakness against its major European rivals Friday afternoon, but is paring its early gains against the Japanese Yen. The lack of any major U.S. economic news kept some investors on the sidelines at the end of a tumultuous week of trade.

A report released by the Commerce Department on Friday showed wholesale inventories in the U.S. increased by more than anticipated in the month of December. The Commerce Department said wholesale inventories rose by 0.4 percent in December after climbing by a revised 0.6 percent in November. Economists had expected inventories to edge up by 0.2 percent.

The dollar has climbed to around $1.2230 against the Euro Friday afternoon, from an early low of $1.2285.

France's industrial production expanded more than expected in December reversing a drop in November, the statistical office Insee said Friday. Industrial production grew 0.5 percent month-on-month in December, in contrast to a 0.3 percent fall in November. Output was expected to grow 0.1 percent.

The buck has risen to a 3-week high of $1.38 against the pound sterling this afternoon, from an early low of $1.3986.

UK industrial production declined in December as the closure of the Forties pipeline dampened oil and gas extraction, while manufacturing continued to expand for the eighth straight month. Industrial output contracted 1.3 percent month-on-month in December, which was the first fall in nine months, the Office for National Statistics reported Friday.

Economists had forecast output to drop moderately by 0.9 percent after expanding 0.3 percent in November.

The UK visible trade deficit widened at the end of the year, data published by the Office for National Statistics showed Friday. The visible trade deficit rose to GBP 13.57 billion in December from GBP 12.45 billion in November. The expected level of shortfall was GBP 11.55 billion.

The greenback reached an early high of Y109.303 against the Japanese Yen Friday, but has since retreated to around Y108.575.

Japan's tertiary activity index decreased unexpectedly at the end of the year, though slightly, data published by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed Friday. The tertiary activity index dropped 0.2 percent month-over-month in December, reversing a 1.1 percent rise in November. Meanwhile, economists had expected a 0.2 percent increase for the month.

The M2 money stock in Japan was up 3.4 percent on year in January, the Bank of Japan said on Friday, coming in at 992.0 trillion yen. That follows the 3.6 percent jump in December.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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