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Dollar index hits 13-1/2 year high after Yellen

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The dollar on Thursday climbed to fresh 13-1/2 highs versus a basket of major currencies after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen finished her appearance before the Congress's Joint Economic Committee.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a group of six currencies, was last up 0.46 percent at 100.87.

"The dollar is mostly softer against the majors, but trading in very narrow ranges," Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, wrote in a research note. The greenback's rally "decided to pause, perhaps to wait for additional developments, such as Fed Chief's Yellen's testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress."

The dollar pared initial losses following upbeat U.S. data on housing starts which rose to a nine-year high in October and on jobless claims that fell to a 43-year low last week.

A renewed selloff in U.S. Treasuries due to the encouraging data also stemmed the dollar's decline.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was up 2 basis points at 2.24 percent, 6 basis points below the 10-month peak set last Friday.

The euro was up 0.1 percent at $1.0695, above the 11-1/2 month low of $1.0663 set on Wednesday


The yen took a knock overnight when the Bank of Japan conducted its first special operation to curb rising yields on Japanese government bonds. The offer was priced to attract no bids, but knocked government bond yields further back into negative territory, pushing the dollar to a session high 109.63 yen.