FOREX-Euro up slightly after ECB meeting; U.S. jobless claims weigh on dollar

Reuters

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    * Euro in choppy action after ECB decision
    * U.S. jobless claims weaker than expected
    * Higher-risk currencies firm
    * Dollar and yen off recent highs

 (Recasts, adds new comments, dateline, U.S. data, FX table, updates prices)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Sujata Rao
    NEW YORK/LONDON, July 22 (Reuters) - The euro was little changed to slightly higher against the dollar
on Thursday in choppy trading, after the European Central Bank met expectations by pledging to keep interest
rates at record lows for even longer, and following weaker-than-expected U.S. jobless claims data. 
    The ECB's dovish pivot - which follows its recently released strategy review - at a time when many peers
are mulling exiting pandemic-era stimulus is expected to keep the single European currency under pressure. 
    "U.S. jobless claims didn't really help the dollar, but looking at the euro, it was really hard for the
ECB to outdove market expectations," said Vassili Serebriakov, FX strategist at UBS in New York. "The market
is not pricing a 10-basis-point hike until 2024 anyway." 
    ECB President Christine Lagarde didn't really say anything to change the market's cautious outlook on
the euro zone. She said a fresh wave of the coronavirus pandemic could pose a risk to the region's economic
recovery.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2OY1OT
    In mid-morning trading, the euro was slightly higher against the dollar at $1.1792  EUR=EBS . On
Wednesday, it hit a 3-1/2-month low of $1.1752.
    The dollar index, meanwhile, slid 0.1% to 92.742  =USD , weighed down by softer-than-expected U.S.
jobless claims data.
    Data showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 51,000 to a seasonally-adjusted
419,000 for the week ended July 17, the highest level since mid-May. Economists polled by Reuters had
forecast 350,000 applications for the latest week.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2OX1Y5
    "These numbers provide more evidence of deceleration," said Karl Schamotta, chief market strategist at
Cambridge Global Payments in Toronto.
    "In continuing to print above expectations, weekly claims are suggesting a loss of momentum in the U.S.
labor market – something that could push Federal Reserve tightening plans further into the future and put
further pressure on bond yields," he added. 
    Elsewhere, growth-focused currencies such as the Australian dollar gained as a global risk sell-off
abated further. The Aussie dollar was last up 0.1% at US$0.7370  AU=D3 .
    The gains in higher-risk assets come after robust company earnings lifted Wall Street and European
bourses, allowing investors to look past concerns that the Delta Covid-19 variant would dampen the economic
recovery. 
    "The consensus is that (the Delta strain) does not pose an immediate risk to the recovery," delaying
reopening by three months at the most as countries ramp up vaccination drives,"     National Australia Bank
analyst Tapas Strickland told clients.
    Sterling  GBP=D3  firmed 0.3% to $1.3755, recovering from 5-1/2-month troughs while in cryptocurrencies,
bitcoin  BTC=BTSP  slipped into negative territory after Wednesday's 7.9% jump - the biggest since mid-June.
It was last flat at $32,137.
    The dollar slipped 0.1% against the yen, another safe haven, to 110.15 yen  JPY=EBS . 
    
    ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 10:23AM (1423 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct       High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                   
                                              Session                                             
 Dollar index      =USD       92.7180        92.8030     -0.08%         3.042%        +92.8680    +92.5040
 Euro/Dollar       EUR=EBS    $1.1797        $1.1789     +0.07%         -3.45%        +$1.1831    +$1.1771
 Dollar/Yen        JPY=EBS    110.1550       110.2800    -0.11%         +6.62%        +110.3550   +110.0200
 Euro/Yen          EURJPY=    129.94         130.09      -0.12%         +2.39%        +130.2900   +129.7300
 Dollar/Swiss      CHF=EBS    0.9181         0.9177      +0.08%         +3.81%        +0.9198     +0.9156
 Sterling/Dollar   GBP=D3     $1.3758        $1.3713     +0.29%         +0.67%        +$1.3787    +$1.3691
 Dollar/Canadian   CAD=D3     1.2583         1.2561      +0.21%         -1.15%        +1.2593     +1.2530
 Aussie/Dollar     AUD=D3     $0.7372        $0.7360     +0.18%         -4.15%        +$0.7397    +$0.7343
 Euro/Swiss        EURCHF=    1.0829         1.0821      +0.07%         +0.20%        +1.0840     +1.0814
 Euro/Sterling     EURGBP=    0.8572         0.8600      -0.33%         -4.08%        +0.8609     +0.8551
 NZ                NZD=D3     $0.6958        $0.6972     -0.23%         -3.13%        +$0.6985    +$0.6947
 Dollar/Dollar                                                                                    
 Dollar/Norway     NOK=D3     8.8485         8.8785      -0.25%         +3.13%        +8.8915     +8.7790
 Euro/Norway       EURNOK=    10.4382        10.4700     -0.30%         -0.28%        +10.5235    +10.3500
 Dollar/Sweden     SEK=       8.6681         8.6876      -0.13%         +5.76%        +8.7004     +8.6452
 Euro/Sweden       EURSEK=    10.2252        10.2386     -0.13%         +1.48%        +10.2538    +10.2228
 
    <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
World FX rates    https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
ECB inflation forecast annotated    https://tmsnrt.rs/36A7r9M
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York and Sujata Rao in London; Additional reporting by Tommy
Wilkes; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Mark Heinrich)
 ((gertrude.chavez@thomsonreuters.com; 646-301-4124; Reuters Messaging:
rm://gertrude.chavez.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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