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Dollar Remains Steady Against Peers

The U.S. dollar stayed fairly steady on Thursday, extending recent gains, amid easing concerns about U.S.-Iran tensions and on optimism about a phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China.

Positive data on private sector job growth and jobless claims too contributed to the dollar's strength.

The dollar index rose to 97.56 around noon and despite paring some gains subsequently, was still holding in positive territory at 97.44, about 0.15% up from previous close.

On the geopolitical front, worries about U.S.-Iran tensions subsided after U.S. President Donald Trump said that there were no American casualties as a result of Iran's missile strikes on Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops and that the U.S. would hit Iran with new sanctions but not respond militarily.

Tehran said the strikes "concluded" its response to the Soleimani killing.

U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft told the UN that America stands "ready to engage without preconditions in serious negotiations with Iran, with the goal of preventing further endangerment of international peace and security or escalation by the Iranian regime".

Iran's UN Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi wrote that Tehran "does not seek escalation or war" after exercising its right to self-defense by taking a "measured and proportionate military response targeting an American air base in Iraq".

In trade news, Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He is expected to travel to Washington to sign the phase one trade deal with the U.S. next week.

In economic news from U.S., data released by the Labor Department showed initial jobless claims dropped to 214,000 in the week ended January 4th, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's revised level of 223,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 220,000 from the 222,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Against the Euro, the dollar was down slightly at 1.1106, after having strengthened to 1.1094 earlier in the day.

Data from Destatis said industrial production in Germany grew 1.1% on a monthly basis in November, offsetting a 1% fall in October. Economists had forecast a 0.8% rise. On a yearly basis, industrial output declined 2.6% after falling 4.6%. Output was forecast to drop 3.7%.

Another data showed exports declined by a more-than-expected 2.3% on month in November, reversing a 1.5% rise in October. Exports were forecast to fall 0.9%. Imports fell 0.5% in the month, offsetting a 0.5% rise in the previous month and in contrast to a 0.2% rise economists had forecast.

As a result, the trade surplus fell to a seasonally adjusted EUR 18.3 billion from EUR 20.4 billion in October.

Against Pound Sterling, the dollar was at $1.3065, after having changed hands at $1.3014 earlier in the day.

The Japanese currency Yen was trading at 109.50 yen a dollar, against 109.13 yen a dollar Wednesday evening.

The dollar was up against the loonie at $1.3067, and against the Aussie, at $0.6856. Against Swiss franc, it was down marginally at 0.9733.

In economic news from Australia, trade trade surplus increased to a seasonally adjusted A$5.8 billion from A$4.07 billion in October. The surplus was forecast to rise slightly to A$4.1 billion.

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