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29.04.2015 17:40

American focus: The euro is having its best day in 6 weeks

Shared currency on track to record its largest single-day gains against dollar, yen since March 18

The euro recorded strong gains against both the dollar and the yen Wednesday after a surprisingly weak reading on U.S. economic growth fueled more speculation that the Federal Reserve won't be in a hurry to raise interest rates.

The euro has risen about 1.4% against the dollar, and 1.5% against the yen so far, putting the shared currency on track to record its largest single-day percentage gain against both currencies since March 18.

The shared currency shot to session highs of (EURUSD)$1.1163 and (USDJPY) Yen132.64 after the weak U.S data. It traded at $1.0972 and Yen130.36 Tuesday afternoon.

The euro has now risen more than 6% against the dollar since it fell below $1.05 in mid-March, a time when many expected the Federal Reserve to raise rates as soon as June. Investors now expect the move to come later, most likely in September.

Investors will be looking for clues about the Fed's intentions when policy makers issue an updated monetary policy statement, expected at 2 p.m. Eastern.

U.S. gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 0.2% in the first quarter, according to a preliminary report from the Labor Department, far below the consensus forecast for 1.1% growth based on a poll of economists conducted by MarketWatch. A marked slowdown in business investment and exports were largely to blame for the slowdown. That contrasts with growth of 2.2% in last quarter of 2014.

Colin Cieszynski, chief markets strategist at CMC Markets, said the euro's gains against the yen were a combination of a spillover from its strength against the dollar, and yen weakness ahead of a monetary policy update from the Bank of Japan, expected Thursday morning, local time.

"[The euro] seems that it's surging more against the yen than against the U.S. dollar, which I find intriguing," Cieszynski said.

The euro's gains against the yen show that investors expect Japan's central bank to maintain its program of asset purchases, Cieszynski said. The shared currency fell to its lowest level against the yen since June 2013 two weeks ago, but has since moved higher.

Meanwhile, the dollar was little changed against the Japanese currency.

One dollar (USDJPY) was worth Yen119.24 in recent trade, compared with Yen118.82 late Tuesday. One pound was worth $ 1.5334 Tuesday.

The dollar has traded in a range between Yen118.33 and Yen120.86 since late March.

In other currency trading, the pound (GBPUSD) rose to a session high of $1.5490, its highest level since late February.

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