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FOREX-Euro regains poise as data points to stronger recovery

Tommy Wilkes
·2 min read

* Euro rebounds after ECB meeting had sent it lower

* Biden tax plan hammers cryptocurrencies

* Dollar nurses losses, all eyes on Fed meeting next week

* Graphic: World FX rates https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E (Adds new analyst quote, latest prices)

By Tommy Wilkes

LONDON, April 23 (Reuters) - The euro rose on Friday, edging back towards a seven-week high, having nursed losses after European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde squashed speculation that policymakers will start to consider a tapering of bond purchases.

Flash purchasing managers' index numbers for April came in better than expected in the euro zone and supported the view that the region's economic recovery is accelerating, although the already-stronger euro was little moved by that data. U.S. numbers are due at 1345 GMT.

The euro gained 0.3% to $1.2055 while the dollar index, measured against a basket of currencies, was down 0.2% .

The dollar was stuck in a narrow trading range near multi-week lows on Friday, as markets look to the next moves by major central banks ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting next week.

"The ECB sounded much more prudent than the BoC (Bank of Canada), as ECB President Christine Lagarde stressed that risks are still tilted to the downside and that uncertainty remains in place," UniCredit analysts said.

That probably offered investors the opportunity to take profit on EUR-USD after a recent rally, they said.

While rising coronavirus vaccination rates and an improving economic outlook are reasons to be optimistic, investors are scaling back expectations for a withdrawal of monetary easing after Lagarde said talk of phasing out emergency bond purchases was premature, analysts said.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is expected to repeat her message next week after the central bank's two-day meeting beginning April 27. That would put downward pressure on Treasury yields and cap the dollar's gains against most currencies.

Analysts also said that while U.S. President Joe Biden's stimulus packages have boosted the outlook for growth and the dollar recently, the longer-term picture was less clear.

"Real yields in the U.S. remain deeply negative on a 10-year basis and reflect some of this uncertainty that will continue to limit the upside for the U.S. dollar," said Derek Halpenny, an analyst at MUFG.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars firmed on Friday, but traders said risks are pointed to the downside due to the recent weakening in commodity prices.

The pound rose 0.3% to $1.3882.

Cryptocurrency ether and bigger rival bitcoin both tumbled amid speculation that a plan by Biden to raise capital gains taxes will curb investment in digital assets.

(Editing by John Stonestreet and Steve Orlofsky)