* Graphic: World FX rates in 2018 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
By Saikat Chatterjee
LONDON, July 5 (Reuters) - The euro climbed half a percent to near three-week highs on Thursday following strong German data, though gains were capped before the release of Fed minutes later in the day.
German industrial orders bounced back in May with a stronger-than-expected jump after four consecutive monthly drops, as demand from domestic customers and the rest of the euro zone picked up.
Media reports that the European Central Bank may be preparing to raise interest rates by next September or October also helped the euro, though thin volumes were a factor, with U.S. markets shut overnight for Independence Day.
“The euro is getting a bit of a lift on the German data though the trade concerns will continue to dominate markets with the Fed minutes being the key data point,” said Kenneth Broux, a currency strategist at Societe Generale in London.
In early London trading, the single currency rallied to a high of $1.1711, just shy of a three-week peak of $1.1722.
But with a deadline for Washington to impose tariffs on Chinese imports also due, markets remained rangebound.
The offshore yuan was broadly steady at 6.6466 per dollar, some distance from Tuesday’s 11-month low of 6.7344, following reassuring remarks from Yi Gang, governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).
“Chinese authorities have been clear they don’t want to use the weaker yuan as a major foreign exchange trade policy... If they were to target a weaker yuan, it could potentially lead to problems, such as capital outflows (as) experienced back in 2015,” said Shinichiro Kadota, senior FX & rates strategist at Barclays in Tokyo.
The dollar’s index against six rivals was 0.34 percent lower at 94.34, its lowest level in a week.
While the dollar has been supported by the perception of the relative strength of U.S. economic growth and the attraction of its higher bond yields, some market players say recent falls in those yields may be undermining the currency.
The Fed will release minutes of its June meeting, with investors looking for clues on whether it is still on track to raise interest rates twice more this year. Monthly payrolls data follow on Friday. (Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee; Additional reporting by Hideyuki Sano in TOKYO; editing by John Stonestreet)