The U.S. dollar fell against the euro and British pound but strengthened versus Japanese yen after the European Central Bank and Bank of England left benchmarks interest rates unchanged while speculations that the Bank of Japan would further ease monetary policy continued growing.
The ECB concluded its meeting on Thursday and decided to keep its benchmark interest rate at 0.75 percent.
Following the meeting, ECB president Mario Draghi said at a news conference that "later in 2013, economic activity should gradually recover" in the euro area. His remarks greatly boosted the euro.
Meanwhile, Bank of England Thursday announced that it will keep the benchmark interest rate at the historical low of 0.5 percent and refrain from more quantitative easing programs, which led the pound rise against the dollar.
On the economic front, U.S. initial weekly jobless claims unexpectedly rose 4,000 to 371,000 in the week ended Jan. 5 and the four-week moving average, according to data released by the U. S. Labor Department.
The dollar went up against the yen for a second day on mounting expectations that the Bank of Japan would expand easing measures under pressure of the newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Bank of Japan will have a policy meeting on Jan. 21 to Jan. 22.
In late New York trading, the euro surged to 1.3254 dollars from 1.3054 dollars of the previous session and the British pound rose to 1.6184 dollars from 1.6016.
The dollar slightly dropped to 0.9146 Swiss francs from 0.9260 and went down to 0.9843 Canadian dollars from 0.9878. The dollar bought 88.19 Japanese yen, higher than 87.76 in the previous session.