The pound showed muted trading against its major opponents during early European deals on Thursday, after the release of UK manufacturing activity data for December that contracted at the fastest pace since July 2012.

Survey data from IHS Markit showed that the Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 47.5 in December, the second-weakest level for almost seven-and-a-half years.

The flash score was 47.4.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson assured the nation that the U.K. is on the verge of a "new chapter" and that he would "finish the job" by delivering Brexit within weeks.

The pound declined in the previous session amid uncertainty about the outcome of trade negotiations between the U.K. and Brussels.

The pound held steady against the greenback, after having dropped to a 2-day low of 1.3202 at 12:15 am ET.

The U.K. currency fell as low as 143.51 against the yen at 10:50 pm ET and held steady in subsequent trading.

The pound consolidated in lower 1.28 range against the franc, following a decline to 1.2791 at 10:50 pm ET.

After falling to 0.8494 against the euro at 10:50 pm ET, the pound held steady thereafter.

Final data from IHS Markit showed that the euro area manufacturing sector continued to contract in December with weakness spread across most of the member countries.

The manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 46.3 in December from 46.9 in November. However, the score was above the flash reading of 45.9.

Looking ahead, the U.S. weekly jobless claims for the week ended December 28 and Markit's final manufacturing PMI for December are set for release in the New York session.

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