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Dollar Turns Easy After Recent Gains As Jobs Data Weighs

The U.S. dollar turned weak on Friday, despite having edged higher early on in the session, weighed by the Labor Department's data showing a slower than expected job growth in the month of December.

The dollar index, which eased to 97.30 after having stayed above 97.50 earlier in the day, was last seen at 97.36, down nearly 0.1% from previous close.

Against the Euro, the dollare weakened to $1.1122, from $1.1105.

The Pound Sterling shed some ground against the dollar, easing to $1.3055, from Thursday's close of $1.3066.

Against Japanese Yen, the dollar was little changed at 109.50 around late afternoon. Earlier in the day, the dollar was firmly placed at 109.69 yen.

The dollar was down more than 0.6% against the Aussie, with the AUD-USD pair trading at 0.6902.

Against the loonie, the dollar was flat at 1.3057, and against Swiss franc, it was down marginally at 0.9729.

According to the data released by the Labor Department, the pace of job growth slowed by more than expected in the month of December.

The report said non-farm payroll employment climbed by 145,000 jobs in December after spiking by a revised 256,000 in November.

Economists had expected employment to increase by about 164,000 jobs compared to the jump of 266,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The Labor Department said notable job gains occurred in the retail trade and healthcare sectors, while mining lost jobs.

Meanwhile, the report said the unemployment rate came in at 3.5 percent in December, unchanged from the previous month and in line with economist estimates.

In geopolitical news, the U.S. today imposed fresh sanctions on Iran. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced new sanctions on Iran's metal exports and eight senior Iranian officials.

U.S. President Donald Trump had said earlier this week that he would not respond militarily to the Iranian missile strikes on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. Trump, who had earlier threatened harsh responses to any attack by Iran, said later that he will only impose new sanctions on Iran's already struggling economy.

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