By Tom Westbrook
SINGAPORE, April 11 (Reuters) – The euro made a firm start to the week on investor relief that incumbent Emmanuel Macron led first-round voting in the French presidential election, while other moves were slight ahead of central bank meetings in Europe, Canada and New Zealand.
The euro EUR=EBS briefly flickered as high as $1.0955 in thin early hours of the Asia session, before settling about 0.15% higher than Friday’s close at $1.0890. It was also firmer on sterling EURGBP= and the yen EURJPY=.
With 88% of votes counted, Macron garnered 27.41% and his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen was next with 24.9%.
They will contest a runoff vote on April 24. Macron’s lead gave some confidence to markets leery of Le Pen’s protectionism even if she no longer advocates saying the euro, though gains were capped ahead of Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting.
“It’s a patchy bit of support,” said Westpac strategist Imre Speizer, as investors are also grappling with an ECB unlikely to sound as aggressive as Federal Reserve in heading off inflation.
“I think that biggest story of the two central banks being quite different is probably quite supportive of the US dollar in the longer run,” he said.
The US dollar index =USD topped 100 for the first time in nearly two years on Friday, and was steady at 99.805 in morning trade. Against the Japanese currency JPY=EBS the dollar was firm and bought 124.32 yen.
The ECB has been weighing rising consumer prices against pressure on growth from war in Ukraine. It is expected to give more details about a wind down in asset purchases on Thursday but may not give any further explicitly hawkish signals.
Central bank meetings are also due in Canada and New Zealand on Wednesday and interest rate swaps pricing indicates that traders see a more than 90% chance that each hikes rates by 50 basis points. BOCWATCH, RBNZWATCH
That could leave both currencies vulnerable if a smaller rate rise is delivered.
The New Zealand dollar USD=D3 wobbled 0.2% lower to $0.6836, while the Canadian dollar CAD=D3 held at C$1.2583 per greenback.
Elsewhere, the Australian dollar AUD=D3 also eased 0.2% to $0.7447 as gains in commodity currencies start to fade further with a retreat in export prices. Sterling GBP=D3 held at $1.3026.
Currency bid prices at 0015 GMT
US Close Previous Session
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All spots FX=
Tokyo spots AFX=
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Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ TKYFX
World FX rateshttps://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
(Reporting by Tom Westbrook. Editing by Sam Holmes)
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