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DOLLAR LITTLE CHANGED DESPITE DATA DELUGE

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The dollar turning in a mixed performance against its major rivals Thursday afternoon, but remains little changed overall. Traders were confronted by a high volume of economic reports this morning and are preparing for another data deluge tomorrow. Durable goods orders, personal income, new home sales and consumer sentiment are all slated for Friday morning.

Economic activity in the US unexpectedly grew at a slightly slower than previously estimated rate in the third quarter, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday. The report said real gross domestic product surged up by 3.2% in the third quarter compared to the previously estimated 3.3% jump. Economists had expected the pace of growth to be unrevised.

A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed a bigger than expected increase in first-time claims for US unemployment benefits in the week ended December 16th. The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 245,000, an increase of 20,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 225,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 234,000.

After reporting a bigger than expected slowdown in the pace of growth in regional manufacturing activity in the previous month, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released a report on Thursday showing the pace of growth unexpectedly rebounded in the month of December.

The Philly Fed said its diffusion index for current general activity climbed to 26.2 in December from 22.7 in November, with a positive reading indicating growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to drop to 21.5.

Suggesting solid economic growth will continue into the first half of 2018, the Conference Board released a report on Thursday showing a slightly bigger than increase by its index of leading US economic indicators in the month of November.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index climbed by 0.4% in November after jumping by 1.2% in October. Economists had expected the index to rise by 0.3%.

The dollar has climbed to around USD1.1870 against the Euro Thursday afternoon, from an early low of USD1.1889.

French manufacturing confidence declined unexpectedly in December, survey results from the statistical office Insee showed Thursday.

The business climate in manufacturing remained very favorable in December, although the composite index dropped to 112 from 113 in November.

Meanwhile, economists had expected the index to remain stable at 113.

The buck rose to an early high of USD1.3330 against the pound sterling Thursday, but has since retreated to around USD1.3380.

The UK budget balance showed its smallest November deficit in a decade, largely due to higher tax income.

Public sector net borrowing excluding public sector banks, decreased GBP 0.2 billion to GBP 8.7 billion in November, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Thursday.

This was the lowest November net borrowing since 2007. The expected level was GBP 9 billion.

UK consumer confidence fell to a four-year low in December as Brexit uncertainty, higher inflation and interest rate hike by the Bank of England weighed on the assessment of personal finance, survey data from GfK showed Thursday.

The survey suggested that the confidence level is set to drop further next year.

The consumer confidence index dropped one point to -13, the lowest since December 2013. The score was forecast to remain at -12.

The Bank of Japan maintained its aggressive monetary easing, as widely expected, as inflation remains well below the 2% target.

Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and his board members decided by an 8-1 majority vote to hold its target of raising the amount of outstanding JGB holdings at an annual pace of about JPY 80 trillion, the bank said in a statement on Thursday.

The bank will purchase government bonds so that the yield of 10-year JGBs will remain at around zero %.

The board also decided to maintain the -0.1% interest rate on current accounts that financial institutions maintain at the bank.

The greenback reached a high of Y113.637 against the Japanese Yen Thursday morning, but has since eased back to around Y113.365.

Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX