RTTNews - The dollar remained on the defensive versus other major currencies Thursday morning in New York as traders geared up for another deluge of key economic reports, including data on weekly jobless claims.

Economists expect that nearly 550,000 people collected jobless benefits for the first time in the most recent week, down from 565,000 in the prior week.

Also, the results of the Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing survey and the National Association of Homebuilders' housing market index are due to be released over the course of the day.

Renewed risk appetite was apparent in most markets yesterday, hurting the dollar versus its higher-yielding counterparts, particularly the euro and loonie.

The dollar extended its big losses from the previous session versus the euro slipping to a 16-day low of 1.4151.

Thursday, data released by the European Central Bank showed that the current account of the euro area balance of payments showed a deficit of EUR 42.2 billion in the first quarter of 2009.

Versus the sterling, the dollar managed to fall no further than yesterday's two-week low of 1.6467. Earlier this month, the dollar made a move to the upside, but has since moved back toward June's 7-month low of 1.6744.

Thursday, the Bank of Japan raised its economic assessment for the third month, citing an increase in public investment and pick-ups in exports and production.

In its latest monthly report of recent economic and financial developments, the central bank said Japan's economic conditions have stopped worsening.

Still, the dollar was able to hold most of yesterday's gains versus the yen, staying near 94. Earlier in the week, the dollar hit a 5-month low of 91.87 before stabilizing.

The dollar appears to have settled after a brutal week versus the loonie, holding near C$1.1200 after dropping to a monthly low of C$1.1110.

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