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Dollar Remains Steady Against Most Major Currencies

Concerns about U.S.-China trade disputes and worries about global growth after the EU lowered its growth forecast for the Euro area helped dollar extend recent gains against some of its peers on Thursday.

The Dollar Index, which advanced to 96.67, pared some gains subsequently, but is still up in positive zone, gaining about 0.16%, at 96.54.

The British Pound Sterling dropped to a two-week low of $1.2854 but recovered later to a high of 1.2996 before paring some gains. At $1.2951, the Sterling is up by about 0.15% now.

The nine-member Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England left the bank's key interest rate unchanged at 0.75% and said that the slowdown in economic growth continued at the start of this year.

Against the Euro, the dollar is gaining about 0.17% at $1.348 a Euro.

The Japanese yen is trading at 109.83 a dollar, gaining about 0.13%.

The Canadian dollar Loonie has slipped by about 0.6% against the greenback after crude oil prices declined sharply on demand growth concerns amid global economic slowdown.

The European Commission slashed its GDP growth forecast for 2019 to 1.3% from 1.9% and lowered its estimate for growth in 2020 to 1.6% from 1.7%.

The downgrade reflected external factors, such as trade tensions and the slowdown in emerging markets, notably in China. Officials warned that the European outlook faces substantial risks due to the uncertainty about Brexit and the slowdown in China.

The EU also lowered its growth forecast for Germany and Italy, two of the largest economies in Europe.

Preliminary figures from the Federal Statistical Office showed that Germany's industrial production decreased by a calendar and seasonally-adjusted 0.4% in December, falling for a fourth consecutive month. In November, it decreased 1.3%, revised from 1.9%. Economists had expected a 0.8% increase in December.

In U.S. economic news, first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits pulled back in the week ended February 2nd after the jump seen in the previous week, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims fell to 234,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 253,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 221,000.

On the Brexit front, the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and British Prime Minister Theresa May have reportedly agreed to meet before the end of this month. Officials from EU and the U.K. are scheduled to engage in a discussion over Irish backstop in coming days.

On Sino-U.S. trade front, despite positive comments from U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that the two countries may reach a deal sometime soon, there are still doubts about a deal being struck before the expiry of the 90 day truce agreed to by the presidents of the two countries in early December 2018.

According to a report from CNBC, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are "highly unlikely" to meet before a March 2nd deadline.

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