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The dollar fell against rival currencies on Friday on the back of weak factory inflation data, while the euro was firm after the European Central Bank hinted that it could be bracing for a reduction in its massive monetary stimulus.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rival currencies, dropped to 91.814. A move below the Jan. 2 low of 91.751 would put it at its lowest since Sept. 20.

The index was poised to lose 0.2 percent for the week, weighed down by recent data that showed U.S. producer prices dropped for the first time in almost 1-½ years in December, which could dampen expectations that inflation will pick up this year.

Against the yen, the dollar was nearly flat on the day at 111.27 JPY, after tumbling a six-week low of 111.05 yen on Thursday.

The greenback remains 1.6 percent lower for the week in which the Japanese currency jumped as a routine operational cut in bond purchases by the Bank of Japan caused speculation that the central bank would unwind its massive stimulus.

The euro rose 0.2 percent to $1.2050, approaching its almost four-month peak of $1.2089 set last week. It was 0.2 percent higher for the week.

The common currency rallied on Thursday, after ECB policymakers said in minutes of the bank's December meeting that they could revisit their communication stance early this year, raising expectations that they are preparing to trim their monetary stimulus program.

Investors took the relatively hawkish statement as a further signal that the ECB will taper its 2.55 trillion euro ($3.07 trillion) bond buying scheme in 2018 if Europe's economy continues to accelerate.

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Oil prices declined over one percent as a rebound in U.S. production countered ongoing declines in crude stockpiles.

If Friday's declines continue, this week we will observe its biggest weekly price declines since October.

Brent crude futures stood at $68.46, falling 85 cents or 1.2 percent, from their last settlement. U.S. WTI crude futures traded at $63.02 per barrel, down 93 cents or 1.5 percent from their last close. The U.S. benchmark recorded a December-214 high of $64.89 per barrel on Tuesday.

According to traders, the lower prices triggered by a rebounded in U.S. oil production following a recent decline, as well as by an expected decline in demand when winter ends in the northern hemisphere.

U.S. crude oil production stood at 9.75 per barrel on Jan 12, according to data from EIA. Production has declined to 9.49 million barrels at the beginning of the year, mostly because of a cold snap that halted some production.

Majority of analysts expect U.S. production to surpass 10 million bpd soon. They also noted the excessive long positions in financial oil markets as a likely brake on any upward trend in prices, with majority of traders soon likely to lock in profits from the recent price rally, which have seen crude surge by around 14 percent since December.

The dollar was under pressure on Friday due to worries over a possible U.S. government shutdown.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was flat at 90.502. It had dropped to a three-year low of 90.113 on Thursday and was on track to lose 0.5 percent on the week.

Against the yen, the dollar was 0.1 percent lower at 111.015. It climbed to 111.480 on Thursday before dropping on concerns over a possible U.S. government shutdown as lawmakers struggled to cobble a federal budget deal.

The focus was on whether lawmakers can reach at least a temporary agreement to fund government operations by a deadline on Friday.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill to fund government operations through Feb. 16 and avoid agency shutdowns this weekend when existing funding expires. However, the bill must be approved by the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future.

The euro was steady at $1.224 after rising nearly 0.45 percent overnight.

The common currency rose to a three-year high above $1.2300 earlier this week on expectations that the European Central Bank would take steps towards winding back on stimulus measures to normalize monetary policy. The euro's rally was tempered later as some ECB officials voiced worries about the currency's strength.

Gold prices climbed on Friday, bolstered by a softer dollar amid worries about a potential U.S. government shutdown. However, the precious metal was still poised for its first weekly loss in six weeks.

Spot gold increased 0.3 percent to $1,331.10 per ounce. The yellow metal hit its lowest level since Jan. 12 at $1,323.70, having dropped from recent four-month peaks. It has declined 0.5 percent so far this week, its worst since the week-ending Dec. 8.

U.S. gold futures were 0.3 percent higher at $1,331.40.

The U.S. dollar weakened amid worries over a potential U.S. government shutdown. The dollar index was down 0.1 percent at 90.394 on Friday.

Spot gold is still targeting $1,311 per ounce, as suggested by a small double-top and a Fibonacci retracement analysis, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, increased 1.42 percent to 840.76 tonnes on Thursday from Wednesday.

Environmental regulators ordered Barrick Gold Corp to close the Chilean side of its stalled Pascua-Lama mining project on Thursday, but reduced a 2013 fine for violations by more than 25 percent to $11.5 million.

Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.5 percent to $17.01 per ounce. Platinum increased 0.2 percent to $1,002, while palladium dropped 0.5 percent to $1,105.


See also: Current support and resistance levels
EUR/USD
GBP/USD
USD/JPY
GBP/JPY
EUR/CHF
AUD/USD
Jan 20 at 11:15 UTC

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