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Euro near 6-month high ahead of French election
[SINGAPORE] The euro traded near a six-month high against the US dollar on Friday, supported by expectations that centrist Emmanuel Macron will win France's presidential election.
The euro eased 0.1 per cent to US$1.0979, holding near Thursday's high of US$1.0988, its highest since early November.
The single currency rose on Thursday after Mr Macron, in a Wednesday TV debate with anti-EU candidate Marine Le Pen, consolidated his position as the likely winner of France's presidency.
The euro was also supported by expectations that the European Central Bank could take a more hawkish tone on its monetary policy at next month's meeting.
The US dollar edged up 0.1 per cent to 112.62 yen, but was down from Thursday's seven-week high of 113.045 yen.
One focus for markets will be on whether the recent price weakness in commodities, such as crude oil, will start having a larger impact on broader risk sentiment, said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore.
The falls in oil prices could lead to concerns about the health of the global economy and drive risk aversion, he said.
"The yen will probably be bought if oil prices weaken further and that leads to falls in equities," Mr Okagawa said.
Oil prices slid to five-month lows on Thursday as Opec and other producers appeared to rule out deeper supply cuts to reduce the world's persistent glut of crude.
That tumble in oil prices had weighed on commodity-linked currencies, such as the Australian dollar.
The Australian dollar last stood at US$0.7407, steady from late US trade. On Thursday, the Aussie dollar had touched a low of US$0.7383, its weakest level since Jan 11.
Investors are awaiting Friday's monthly US non-farm payrolls report for additional insight into the Federal Reserve's rate trajectory through the end of the year.
Attention will also be on Fed officials including Fed Chair Janet Yellen and vice-chair Stanley Fischer, who are due to speak on Friday.
The US Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged on Wednesday and downplayed weak first-quarter economic growth, bolstering market expectations for the central bank to raise interest rates in June.