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CURRENCIES

Euro, emerging markets rebound as investors return to risk

London

THE euro rebounded from 2½ month lows on Thursday as currencies hit hard by recent dollar buying roared higher, with the mood for risk-taking starting the month on a much more positive footing.

Analysts said a flood of end-of-month buying of dollars on Wednesday had ceased with the start of November.

That, combined with hopes that China would ramp up fiscal stimulus, boosted the euro and led to substantial moves higher in the Australian and New Zealand dollars, the Norwegian and Swedish crowns and a clutch of emerging market currencies.

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A more than one per cent increase in sterling on hopes of an EU-UK Brexit deal for financial services also added to the dollar's woes, leaving it on track for its biggest one-day loss in three weeks.

"We are doing the opposite from what we were doing yesterday. We've got a reasonably risk-friendly market, and with the new month we have some dollar selling," said Kit Juckes, a strategist at Societe Generale.

The euro rose to as high as US$1.1389, away from recent lows of US$1.1302 that had followed weak eurozone data and worries about the Italian budget.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback's value versus six major peers, moved lower by 0.5 per cent to 96.642, easing from a 16-month high of 97.2 hit on Wednesday.

The Australian dollar, seen as a barometer of investor sentiment, jumped one percent to US$0.7146, helped by data showing a strong rise in the country's trade surplus.

The New Zealand dollar gained 1.4 per cent while the Swedish and Norwegian crowns also made headway.

The yen rose slightly to 112.90. The Japanese currency weakened to a three-week low of 113.38 on Wednesday after the Bank of Japan signalled its intention to maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy for some time.

With investor risk sentiment improving, emerging market currencies racked up gains versus the dollar. The offshore Chinese yuan, which had skidded to a 22-month low this week, recovered nearly half a per cent to 6.9456.

Despite the dollar's slide, some analysts were cautious about further falls given the headwinds for the global economy.

Friday's US employment data could also reinforce the view that the US economy is outperforming rivals, sending money back into the buck.

"After a very difficult month of October for risk assets, overnight we saw across the board strength in EM (emerging market) and higher beta FX, partly helped by the announcement of Chinese stimulus," ING analysts said in a note to clients. REUTERS