* Dollar index rises to the highest since June 2017
* Sterling falls as Brexit pressure builds on PM May (Updates rates, comments to U.S. market open; changes byline; changes dateline, previous LONDON)
By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed
NEW YORK, April 23 (Reuters) - The dollar climbed across the board on Tuesday as financial markets re-opened after the Easter holiday and traders favored the greenback ahead of the release on Friday of U.S. gross domestic product data for the first three months of 2019.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six currencies, rose 0.47% to 97.74, its highest since June 2017. The euro fell 0.52% against the dollar, slipping below the $1.12 handle for the first time in nearly three weeks.
The dollar was supported by data on Tuesday that showed sales of new U.S. single-family homes jumped to a near 1-1/2-year high in March. The data follows recent positive news on retail sales and exports which have eased concerns of a sharply slowing U.S. economy, analysts said.
“Today is certainly a good dollar day,” said Minh Trang, senior currency trader at Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, California.
“The dollar is coming in full force and we have seen somewhat of a lower trend on the euro overall,” he said.
Friday’s U.S. GDP data for the first quarter could strengthen the case that while the current period of global expansion is in its late stages, the United States is yet to run out of steam.
“We are in a very range-bound market with the broader picture being more positive for the dollar relative to the euro after the weak eurozone PMI manufacturing data last week,” said Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of FX strategy at Commerzbank.
An uptick this week in oil prices on news of U.S. plans to tighten a clamp down on Iranian oil exports from next month is also a positive for the dollar, said Silicon Valley Bank’s Trang.
“If we do see a follow-through from higher oil prices to a little bit higher inflation I think you will see the Fed be in a position to be more stable with maintaining rates and eliminating any kind of conversation about rate cuts,” he said.
With the U.S. Federal Reserve on pause with interest rate hikes there has been some talk that the Fed will need to cut rates before long.
Sterling slid to a two-month low on Tuesday as hopes for a breakthrough in Brexit talks between the ruling and opposition parties faded and British Prime Minister Theresa May faced growing pressure to quit.
The Canadian dollar weakened to a nearly four-week low against its U.S. counterpart on Tuesday as investors awaited a Bank of Canada interest rate decision on Wednesday.
Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in London Editing by Chizu Nomiyama