By Omer Esiner of Travelex

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The dollar firmed slightly on weekly jobless claims data Thursday after holding steady overnight near the lower end of its recent ranges against most of its major rivals.

Somewhat reduced concerns about a Greek debt default had let some of the steam out of the greenback's recent rally.

On Wednesday Athens announced another five billion euro worth of budget cuts that market participants saw as positive step in getting the nation's debt problems under control.

On Thursday morning, a Greek government bond auction found surprisingly healthy demand from financial market players, which should further assuage worries about the nation's ability to service its massive deficits.

However, harsh austerity measures will ultimately weigh on already anemic eurozone growth, and similarly indebted peripheral eurozone nations pose similar threats to the bloc's stability down the road. Consequently, near-term euro strength is largely seen as a selling opportunity by many traders.

The European Central Bank's postmeeting press conference this morning will be watched for any comments on the outlook for monetary policy and the bloc's debt problems.

The pound saw a bounce in buying interest after the Bank of England left rates and its quantitative easing scheme unchanged, as expected. However, lackluster growth, which keeps alive the prospect of further Bank of England credit easing, and mounting political uncertainty should continue to cap the pound's medium-term upside.

USD: Weekly jobless claims fell sharply from a revised 498,000 to 469,000, a bit less than the 470,000 expected. Continued claims fell from 4.63 million to 4.50 million. Snow storms in the east likely distorted the data, prompting many to disregard the move down in initial claims. Fourth-quarter unit labor costs were revised to a decline of 5.9%, and productivity was revised to 6.9%. The dollar was slightly firmer following the news.

GBP: As expected, the Bank of England left its key repo rate unchanged at a record low 0.50% and did not adjust its asset purchase program. The BOE did not provide a statement at the conclusion of its two-day monetary policy meeting.

The pound rebounded from a 10-month low against the greenback and a record trough against the Canadian dollar after an upside surprise to services sector activity in February fueled some profit taking on its recent losses. However, going forward, the pound should remain severely undermined by the very tepid U.K. recovery, which ultimately keeps open the door to additional credit easing by the central bank. Concerns about the state of the government's finances as well as mounting political uncertainty will also add to the pound's medium-term headwinds.

JPY: The yen firmed slightly overnight after the Bank of Japan announced it raised the borrowing limit for currency market interventions for the coming fiscal year (beginning April 1). The BOJ will raise the budget for foreign exchange "special account," the bank's so-called war chest for currency interventions. Some speculated that officials have become keener to intervene to protect the competitiveness of the nation's dominant export sector amid a very anemic economic recovery. While there is no indication that officials would move to weaken the yen at current levels, talk of BOJ intervention could eventually dull some of the yen's appeal.

CAD: The Canadian dollar remains one of the best performing currencies, posting five consecutive positive sessions against the greenback. This week's upside surprise to fourth-quarter GDP and the somewhat upgraded economic assessment of the BOC suggested that lending rates could eventually rise sooner than expected. This week's rebound in commodities, highlighted by the rise in crude oil back above $80 a barrel, added to the loonie's broad appeal.

Lastly, reduced worries about a Greek debt default helped lift market sentiment and boosted the appeal of assets closely tied to the global economic outlook. The loonie should continue to outperform most of its major rivals over the medium term.

EUR: As expected, the European Central Bank left its key lending rate unchanged at 1.00% Thursday morning.

Earlier, a closely watched Greek government 10-year bond auction for five billion euros found about 16 billion euros in bids, signaling very healthy market demand.

Still, the average yield for the auction was 6.4%, about double what the German government pays. In his post-Governing Council press conference, ECB President Trichet sounded a cautious tone on the economy, citing a low inflation outlook, high uncertainty and a generally uneven recovery. He said the ECB will keep most of its emergency liquidity operations unchanged and slowly bring the rate it charges on short-term loans closer to its benchmark refinancing rate. The euro slipped a bit in choppy trade as investors digest Mr. Trichet's comments.

Omer Esiner serves as the Senior Currency Market Analyst at Travelex, Inc. a global financial institution specializing in corporate foreign exchange services and international payment solutions. In this capacity, he monitors, analyzes and interprets the economic, financial, political and technical factors that drive the movements of more than 100 currencies for Travelex. Mr. Esiner explains the currency markets' reaction to market events to clients, employees and members of the media.

You can view his daily reports, recording briefings, and quarterly reviews posted here. As an expert in foreign exchange, Mr. Esiner is quoted regularly by the financial media including The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Dow Jones Newswires, Reuters, the Nightly Business Report, National Public Radio, among others. Based in Washington, D.C., Esiner joined Travelex in February 2000. Prior to his current position, Esiner was a currency trader for several years. Mr. Esiner holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is fluent in Turkish and proficient in Spanish.

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