Euro fell on Wednesday trading session as data showing unemployment rate in the euro-area block was unchanged at a record high for the eighth month in a row in November overshadowed report showing retail sales recorded its biggest monthly jump in 12 years. Euro-area the jobless rate remained at 12.1 percent in November as policy makers struggled to bolster the recovery from the currency bloc's longest recession. Unemployment has been stable at that level since April. Separate report showed reports showed Italy's unemployment rate rose to hit a record high in November at 12.7 percent from 12.5 percent initially expected. While, November retail sales increased 1.4 percent from the previous month, beating analysts' estimates, and 1.6 percent in the year. In Germany , trade balance surplus narrowed in November while exports rose to 0.3 percent for the fourth consecutive month, yet missing analyst's median expectations of 0.8 percent. Imports dropped by 1.1 percent, data showed on Wednesday. The European Central Bank (ECB) will hold their first policy meetings of 2014 later this week on Thursday. The ECB will be in focus after data earlier this week showed annual rate of the consumer price index (CPI) in the single-currency region eased to 0.8% in December. Against the dollar, the euro extended losses, falling 0.25 percent to trade at $1.35821 after opening at $1.36148 . The EURJPY pair fell to trade near ¥142.306 after opening at 142.393. The U.S. dollar strengthened for a second day against the yen as investors awaited the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting for indications on the possible timing of further reductions in the bank's stimulus program, and private sector employment indicator later in the day. The week ahead also will also see a raft of speeches from officials of the Federal Reserve on Thursday as well as the closely-watched December non-payrolls data on Friday. The dollar index last stood at 80.18, after opening at 80.08. The USDIX index so far hit a session high at 81.19 and low at 80.97. The Japanese yen slashed gains against the dollar for a second session, where the USDJPY pair last traded at ¥104.764, after opening at ¥104.583. The yen fell 0.14 percent against the dollar so far.
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