* ECB leaves rates unchanged, sees risks ahead
* Traders eye UK PM May's Brussels trip after no-confidence vote
* Optimism on U.S.-China trade relations boosts dollar
* Graphic: World FX rates in 2018
(Updates market action, adds quote)
By Richard Leong
NEW YORK, Dec 13 (Reuters) - The euro held steady against the
dollar on Thursday after the European Central Bank, as expected,
halted new bond purchases and promised to maintain policy support for
the euro zone due to risks from trade tensions, Brexit and budget woes
in Italy and France.
Sterling edged higher following UK Prime Minister Theresa May's
prevailing in her party's vote on her leadership the day before. It
had rallied on Wednesday in anticipation as traders bet her win might
allow her to negotiate more generous terms for Britain in its exit
from the European Union in March.
The dollar was firm against most major currencies stemming from
optimism on some progress between China and the United States to
resolve their trade issues, analysts said.
"Continuing confidence and increasing caution," was how
ECB President Mario Draghi at his news conference described the ECB's
decision for ending the 2.6 trillion euro ($2.95 trillion),
four-year-long quantitative easing program. It will reinvest cash from
On the other hand, the ECB kept its primary rate target at -0.40
percent. It also marked down its outlook on regional growth.
"The euro is holding in pretty well," said Lee Ferridge,
North American head of cross-asset strategy at State Street Global
Markets in Boston. "That's a hopeful sign for the future."
At 2:46 p.m. (1946 GMT), the single currency was 0.03 percent
higher at $1.1366. It has been trading in a range of $1.12 to $1.15
since early November.
Against the pound, it slipped 0.19 percent at 89.88 pence.
Sterling notched higher amid uncertainty on what more May, who is
currently in Brussels, could get from EU leaders to improve on her
Brexit proposal in a bid to achieve parliamentary approval.
On Monday, May scrapped a vote on her current plan, sending the
pound to a 20-month low against the dollar and triggering a
no-confidence vote on her leadership.
The sterling was up 0.21 percent at $1.2653, just below its
session peak of $1.2687 and above a 20-month low of $1.2477 reached on Wednesday.
An index that tracks the greenback against the euro, sterling and
four other currencies was 0.04 percent higher at 97.082.
U.S. President Donald Trump's upbeat comments on trade talks with
China and Beijing's first major purchase of U.S. soybeans in months
boosted the dollar.
"While not settled, sentiment has improved," Paresh
Upadhyaya, director of currency strategy at Amundi Pioneer Investments
in Boston, said of renewed optimism about U.S.-Sino trade relations. ========================================================
Currency bid prices at 2:45PM (1945 GMT)
Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change
YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid
Euro/Dollar EUR= $1.1364 $1.1368 -0.04%
-5.27% +1.1393 +1.1331
Dollar/Yen JPY= 113.6000 113.2700 +0.29%
+0.83% +113.7000 +113.2100
Euro/Yen EURJPY= 129.09 128.77 +0.25%
-4.51% +129.2500 +128.7200
Dollar/Swiss CHF= 0.9935 0.9935 +0.00%
+1.97% +0.9954 +0.9913
Sterling/Dollar GBP= 1.2652 1.2629 +0.18%
-6.36% +1.2685 +1.2610
Dollar/Canadian CAD= 1.3356 1.3349 +0.05%
+6.19% +1.3383 +1.3338
Australian/Doll AUD= 0.7224 0.7219 +0.07%
-7.40% +0.7247 +0.7213
Euro/Swiss EURCHF= 1.1292 1.1292 +0.00%
-3.40% +1.1301 +1.1267
Euro/Sterling EURGBP= 0.8980 0.9000 -0.22%
+1.09% +0.9016 +0.8953
NZ Dollar/Dolar NZD= 0.6860 0.6854 +0.09%
-3.18% +0.6879 +0.6843
Dollar/Norway NOK= 8.5605 8.5686 -0.09%
+4.31% +8.5949 +8.5314
Euro/Norway EURNOK= 9.7287 9.7416 -0.13%
-1.22% +9.7589 +9.7085
Dollar/Sweden SEK= 9.0571 9.0855 -0.33%
+10.43% +9.0940 +9.0372
Euro/Sweden EURSEK= 10.2940 10.3280 -0.33%
+4.62% +10.3388 +10.2725
GRAPHIC-The European Central Bank's QE programme GRAPHIC-As Fed
hikes rates, ECB keeps rates at record lows GRAPHIC-Euro, sterling
since Brexit referendum GRAPHIC-Euro, sterling since Brexit
(Additional reporting by Tommy Wilkes in LONDON Editing by Jon Boyle
and Phil Berlowitz)
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