FOREX-Dollar steadies after upbeat U.S. data amid holiday-thin trade

Reuters

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    * Euro hurt by disappointing German flash PMI readings for
April
    * U.S. retail sales post biggest gain in 1-1/2 years in
March
    * Markets are quiet due to Good Friday Easter holiday
    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

    By Tomo Uetake
    TOKYO, April 19 (Reuters) - The dollar steadied against a
basket of currencies on Friday after hitting a 2-1/2-week high
overnight as data pointed to a sturdy U.S. economy, while the
euro was dented by weak manufacturing activity in Europe.
    Many financial markets were closed for the Good Friday
Easter holiday. Currency markets remain open but volume is
expected to be light.
    The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a
basket of six other major currencies, rose to as high as 97.485
 .DXY  overnight, its highest level since April 2. It last
traded at 97.392 on Friday, down 0.1 percent on the day.
    U.S. retail sales increased by the most in 1-1/2-years in
March as households boosted purchases of motor vehicles and a
range of other goods, the latest indication that economic growth
picked up in the first quarter after a false start.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N21Z0OU
    The economy's strength was reinforced by other data on
Thursday showing the number of Americans filing applications for
unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest in nearly 50 years
last week.
    "In addition to the recent upticks in Chinese data, the
latest U.S. retail sales numbers have helped to ease investor
worries about the global economy. It's pretty quiet trading due
to the Easter holiday, though," said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior
strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.
    The picture was less bullish in the euro zone as data on
Thursday showed that activity in Germany's manufacturing sector
shrank for a fourth straight month in April.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL5N2201Y9
    The euro fell against the dollar to as low as 1.1226  EUR= ,
its lowest level in 1-1/2 weeks, after the worse-than-expected
data from the Europe's largest economy.
    The single currency was last up 0.1 percent against the U.S.
dollar at $1.1242, up 0.1 percent on the day. 
    In contrast, the weak European data pushed the yen higher to
its one-week high of 111.765 yen  JPY=EBS  at one point on late
Thursday. The yen last stood at 111.935 yen to the dollar,
within the recent narrow range.
    The release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on
Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. election had little impact on
markets.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N22008A

 (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Kim Coghill)
 ((tomo.uetake@thomsonreuters.com; +81-3-6441-1645; Reuters
Messaging: tomo.uetake.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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