April 26, 2019 / 12:18 AM / in 2 months

FOREX-Dollar hovers near 2-year high, U.S. GDP awaited

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

* Dollar index hits highest since May 2017

* Dollar awaits U.S. GDP to cap off bullish week

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO, April 26 (Reuters) - The dollar hovered near a two-year high against its peers on Friday, supported by strong U.S. capital goods orders and awaiting first-quarter GDP data which could further reinforce the greenback’s bullish standing.

The dollar index versus a basket of six major currencies stood at 98.128 after advancing to 98.322 on Thursday, its highest since May 2017.

Data on Thursday showed new orders for U.S.-made capital goods increased by the most in eight months in March. That follows other recent U.S. data that show strength in retail sales and exports which have eased concerns of the world’s biggest economy sharply slowing.

The markets are watching first-quarter U.S. gross domestic product data due later on Friday (1230 GMT) for signs of whether the United States remains stronger than other leading economies.

According to a Reuters survey of economists, GDP probably increased at a 2.0 percent annualized rate in the quarter. The economy grew at a 2.2 percent pace in the October-December period.

“We expect the GDP data to underline steady economic recovery. Differences in economic fundamentals is a key driver for currencies now that the Fed - and more recently the Swedish and Japanese central banks - have adopted a dovish stance,” said Shin Kadota, senior strategist at Barclays in Tokyo.

Sweden’s central bank said on Thursday that recent weak inflationary pressures meant an interest rate hike would come slightly later than it had planned, sending the Swedish crown to a 17-year low.

In a move to dispel any doubt over its commitment to ultra-loose policies, the Bank of Japan on Thursday put a time frame on its forward guidance for the first time by telling investors that it would keep interest rates at super-low levels for at least one more year.

The euro was a touch higher at $1.1139 but within reach of $1.1117, its lowest level since June 2017 plumbed on Thursday.

The single currency has shed nearly 1 percent against the dollar this week, weighed by worries about the health of the euro zone economy.

The dollar was down 0.1 percent at 111.52 yen after shedding 0.5 percent overnight.

The Australian dollar was steady at $0.7018 after ending Thursday little changed.

The Aussie has lost roughly 2 percent this week, during which it sank to a near four-month trough as soft domestic inflation data boosted the prospect of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia. (Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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