March 29, 2018 / 3:17 PM / 6 months ago

FOREX-Dollar steady as rally runs out of steam ahead of long Easter weekend

    * Dollar headed for 5th consecutive quarter of losses
    * Euro steady after German jobs data

 (New throughout, updates rates and comments as of U.S. market
open; new byline, previous LONDON)
    By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed
    NEW YORK, March 29 (Reuters) - The dollar was little changed
against a basket of currencies on Thursday, as its rebound from
a five-week low, touched earlier this week, ran out of steam and
trading activity slowed down ahead of the long Easter weekend in
many of the world's largest trading centers.
    The dollar index, which measures the greenback
against a basket of six other major currencies, was about flat
on the day at 90.066. The index was down about 2 percent for the
quarter, on pace for its fifth straight quarter of declines.
    "It's pretty quiet trading. We are coming into the tail end
of a shortened week for most people," said Shaun Osborne, chief
FX strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto.
    "I think a lot of the month-end and quarter-end flows
probably went through earlier this week just because everyone
was looking at today and thinking it was likely to be a thinly
traded day," Osborne added.
    The dollar index rose to a one-week high on Wednesday,
helped by end-of-month and end-of-quarter rebalancing of
portfolios by global asset and fund managers, which tends to be
dollar-supportive.
    "A lot of the strength we have seen this week is likely to
unwind to a large extent next week and beyond," Osborne said.
    Data on Thursday showed U.S. consumer spending rose
marginally for a second straight month in February as households
boosted savings, the latest indication that the economy lost
momentum in the first quarter.
    But the economy's fundamentals remained strong, with other
data on Thursday showing the number of Americans filing for
unemployment benefits dropping to more than a 45-year low last
week.
    "I don't think there was any kind of particular surprise,"
said Vassili Serebriakov, currency strategist at Credit Agricole
in New York.
    "That's why we didn't see a lot of moves in either rates or
forex," Serebriakov added. 
    "We are also a bit more sensitive to what's going on in
equities and on the trade front as well, so maybe the bar for
data surprises is a little bit higher," Serebriakov said.
    Global markets were shaken this month when U.S. President
Donald Trump moved to impose tariffs on Chinese goods, and
Beijing threatened similar measures. But fears of a full-blown
trade war have eased on hopes that negotiations can bring a
compromise.
    The greenback was 0.52 percent lower against the yen,
after rising 1.4 percent over the previous two sessions.
    The euro edged higher against the dollar after data showing
German unemployment falling more than expected pointed to
continued strength in the euro zone's largest economy, but
failed to hold gains and was trading little changed on the day.

    Sterling slipped on Thursday as economic data failed to
impress, though the currency remains on course for its best
quarter against the dollar since 2015.
    The Canadian dollar rose against its U.S. counterpart as
firmer stock prices offset data showing the domestic economy
unexpectedly contracted at the start of the year.
    ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 11:04AM (1504 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Euro/Dollar      EUR=        $1.2301        $1.2307     -0.05%         +2.54%      +1.2335     +1.2294
 Dollar/Yen       JPY=        106.3000       106.8500    -0.51%         -5.65%      +106.9200   +106.3100
 Euro/Yen         EURJPY=     130.74         131.47      -0.56%         -3.28%      +131.6000   +130.7000
 Dollar/Swiss     CHF=        0.9566         0.9565      +0.01%         -1.82%      +0.9583     +0.9548
 Sterling/Dollar  GBP=        1.4031         1.4076      -0.32%         +3.84%      +1.4096     +1.4019
 Dollar/Canadian  CAD=        1.2877         1.2921      -0.34%         +2.39%      +1.2934     +1.2863
 Australian/Doll  AUD=        0.7677         0.7659      +0.24%         -1.59%      +0.7687     +0.7644
 ar                                                                                             
 Euro/Swiss       EURCHF=     1.1768         1.1774      -0.05%         +0.68%      +1.1796     +1.1764
 Euro/Sterling    EURGBP=     0.8764         0.8743      +0.24%         -1.34%      +0.8770     +0.8739
 NZ Dollar/Dolar  NZD=        0.7215         0.7210      +0.07%         +1.82%      +0.7219     +0.7189
 Dollar/Norway    NOK=        7.8444         7.8621      -0.23%         -4.42%      +7.8775     +7.8442
 Euro/Norway      EURNOK=     9.6509         9.6758      -0.26%         -2.01%      +9.6931     +9.6517
 Dollar/Sweden    SEK=        8.3552         8.3495      +0.03%         +1.87%      +8.3848     +8.3319
 Euro/Sweden      EURSEK=     10.2800        10.2770     +0.03%         +4.48%      +10.3302    +10.2748
  

    
 (Editing by Jon Boyle and Will Dunham)
  
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