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Dollar ticks up before US data, bitcoin hits record high


Dollar ticks up before US data, bitcoin hits record high

By Harry Robertson

LONDON (Reuters) -The dollar inched higher on Thursday as investors waited for U.S. economic data, while bitcoin rose to a record high above $73,800.

The dollar index, which gauges the currency against six major peers, rose 0.1% to 102.83.

It has largely shrugged off Tuesday’s hotter-than-expected U.S. consumer inflation data and is roughly unchanged since the figures. The index is up around 1.5% this year as U.S. data has shown that the economy remains strong, causing investors to rein in their bets on rapid and deep interest rate cuts.

Data due at 1230 GMT (8.30 a.m. ET) – on producer inflation, retail sales and weekly jobless claims – could provide more clues about the timing of rate cuts.

“Today’s data in the U.S. will be quite important… in a quiet market environment,” said Francesco Pesole, FX strategist at ING. “That’s surely going to be the big event today.”

He added: “This is very much a bit of an in-between week, just waiting for the central bank meetings next week to see what happens.”

The Bank of Japan will set interest rates on Tuesday next week, followed by the Federal Reserve on Wednesday and the Bank of England on Thursday.

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The euro was slightly lower at $1.0942 on Thursday, with no major European economic data to inject volatility, taking its fall for the year to around 0.9%. Sterling was up 0.1% at $1.2811, up 0.6% for the year.

Bitcoin continued its upward march, hitting a record $73,803. Exchange-traded bitcoin funds and optimism that the Fed will cut interest rates this year have boosted the biggest cryptocurrency.

The dollar was little changed at 147.75 yen, nursing losses of 2% over the last two weeks as investors have positioned for the Bank of Japan to potentially raise interest rates out of negative territory at its meeting next week.

Sources told Reuters that Japan’s central bank will debate ending negative rates if big firms’ wage talks yield strong results.

Preliminary results of the spring wage negotiations are due on Friday, with several of the country’s biggest companies having already agreed to meet union demands for pay increases.

Elsewhere, the dollar climbed 0.1% against the Swedish crown, to 10.239 crowns, after data showed Sweden’s headline inflation slowed more than expected in February.

Market pricing on Thursday showed traders see a roughly 75% chance of the Fed cutting rates by June.

(Reporting by Harry Robertson, additional reporting by Brigid Riley; Editing by Christopher Cushing, Elaine Hardcastle and Sharon Singleton)

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