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Dollar Loses Ground Against Major Counterparts

The U.S. dollar was weak against its major counterparts on Thursday, weighed down by concerns about slowing U.S. economy following aggressive policy tightening by the Federal Reserve.

Data released by the Commerce Department showed housing starts slumped by 1.4% to an annual rate of 1.382 million in December after tumbling by 1.8% to a revised rate of 1.401 million in November. Economists had expected housing starts to plunge by 4.8% to an annual rate of 1.359 million from the 1.427 million originally reported for the previous month.

The Commerce Department said building permits also dove by 1.6% to an annual rate of 1.330 million in December after plummeting by 10.6% to a revised rate of 1.351 million in December. Economists expected building permits to jump by 2.1% in December.

A report released by the Labor Department showed initial jobless claims fell to 190,000 in the week ended January 14th, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 205,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 214,000.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released a report showing regional manufacturing activity has contracted at a slower rate in the month of January.

Data on Wednesday showed U.S. retail sales fell by the most in a year in December, while producer prices fell more than expected last month.

The dollar index dropped to a low of 101.99 and was at 102.06 a little while ago, down by about 0.3% from the previous close.

Against the Euro, the dollar weakened to 1.0842, and was last seen at 1.0831, down 0.31% compared to Wednesday's closing level.

The euro was higher against its major counterparts, as European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde affirmed that the central bank will keep raising interest rates to rein in inflation.

Speaking at a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Lagarde reiterated that the ECB is determined to bring down inflation to 2% to target and would move ahead with more interest rate hikes.

The dollar drifted down to 1.2388 against Pound Sterling, easing from 1.2348.

Against the Japanese currency, the dollar weakened to 128.40 yen from 128.92 yen.

The dollar firmed to 0.6912 against the Aussie, gaining from 0.6941. The Swiss franc gained marginally against the dollar at CHF 0.9156, edging up from CHF 0.9164. Against the Loonie, the dollar weakened to C$1.3465 from C$1.3494.

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