The U.S. dollar weakened against its peers on Thursday as the currency's safe haven appeal dimmed amid rising hopes the Joe Biden administration will step up stimulus to bolster growth.
The monetary policy stance of the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank played a role as well in wiping some shine off the greenback.
The U.S. Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell to 900,000 in the week ended January 16th, a decrease of 26,000 from the previous week's revised level of 926,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 910,000 from the 965,000 originally reported for the previous week.
On the stimulus front, U.S. President Joe Biden has revealed new details of his plan to tackle the pandemic, which includes providing more state and local funding to accelerate the vaccine rollout and using the Defense Production Act to increase production of personal protective equipment.
The dollar index, which eased to 90.05, was last seen hovering around 90.10, down more than 0.4% from previous close.
Against the Euro, the dollar weakened to $1.2167, giving up nearly 0.5% from Wednesday's close. The euro firmed up against its peers as the European Central Bank left its key interest rates and the size of the pandemic emergency purchase programme unchanged and signaled its willingness to act further to help counter the negative pandemic shock on the inflation target.
The Pound Sterling was stronger, fetching $1.3731 a unit, about 0.55% more than previous close of $1.3654.
The Yen was flat at 103.52 a dollar a little while ago, after moving between 103.33 and 103.66 earlier. The Bank of Japan left its monetary policy unchanged, raised growth projections and noted that risks to both economic activity and prices were skewed to the downside.
Japan posted a merchandise trade surplus of 751.005 billion yen in December, the Ministry of Finance said. That was shy of expectations for a surplus of 942.8 billion yen but up from 366.8 billion yen in November.
The Aussie was stronger with the AUD/USD pair at 0.7760, gaining about 0.17%. The jobless rate in Australia fell to a seasonally adjusted 6.6% in December, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday. That was below expectations for 6.7% and down from 6.8% in November.
Against Swiss franc, the dollar was down 0.5%, fetching CHF 0.8853, while against the Loonie, it was flat at C$1.2637.