US dollar pushes higher

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New York - The dollar sustained its rebound against the euro for a third straight session Thursday helped by an increased estimate of US fourth quarter growth and more sluggish data from Europe.

At 23:00 SA time, the euro was at $1.3742, compared to $1.3781 late Wednesday.

The euro hit a 29 month peak of $1.3931 to the dollar on March 19 but has since succumbed to worries of overvaluation as the US economy outpaces the eurozone's.

The US Commerce Department increased its estimate of economic growth in the last quarter of 2013 to 2.6 percent from 2.4 percent, with the gain helped by larger-than-estimated consumer spending.

But in Europe, the European Central Bank reported that bank lending to businesses remained in a slump in February, down 2.2

percent from a year earlier.

The dollar's gains were not all around: it still fell against the British pound, and the Australian and Canadian dollars, said Kathy Lien of BK Asset Management.

The pound rose to $1.6610 from $1.6576, while the dollar slipped to 0.8272 Swiss franc from 0.8312 franc.

“Unfortunately forex traders were not impressed by today's reports and the lack of enthusiasm was also seen in equities and Treasuries,” she said.

The yen was mixed ahead of the advent of a new sales tax, with Japanese people reportedly rushing to shop before it comes into effect on April 1.

The dollar rose to 102.17 yen from 102.00, but the euro fell to 140.41 yen from 140.57.

Analyst fear consumer spending could slump, and the economy with it, after the tax is implemented.

“The bearish sentiment surrounding the Japanese yen may gather pace going into April as market participants see the consumer-tax hike dragging on the economic recovery,” said David Song of DailyFX. - Sapa-AFP



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