- The U.S. dollar was steady against the yen on Friday, as demand for the safe-haven greenback strengthened amid sustained concerns over geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and as Thursday''s strong jobless claims data continued to support the dollar.

USD/JPY hit 101.78 during European afternoon trade, the session high; the pair subsequently consolidated at 101.71, inching up 0.06%.

The pair was likely to find support at 101.33, the low of April 11 and resistance at 102.15, the high of May 6.

Safe haven demand was boosted after pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine ignored a public call by Russian President Vladimir Putin to postpone a referendum on self-rule. They said they plan to go ahead on Sunday with a vote that some fear could lead to a civil war.

Senior EU diplomats reached a preliminary agreement on Wednesday to expand the legal criteria for imposing sanctions on Russia, with the goal of making it easier to freeze the assets of companies involved in the Ukraine crisis.

The dollar also remained supported after the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending May 3 fell by 26,000 to 319,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 345,000. Analysts had expected jobless claims to fall by 20,000 to 325,000 last week.

The yen was higher against the euro, with EUR/JPY shedding 0.32% to 140.24.

Sentiment on the euro remained fragile after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the central bank governing council is comfortable with acting at its next meeting, after the bank has published fresh forecasts for inflation and growth.

Earlier Friday, official data showed that Germany''s trade surplus narrowed to €14.8 billion in March from €15.8 billion in February, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated surplus of €15.7 billion.

Analysts had expected the trade surplus to widen to €16.6 billion in March.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger