January 24, 2019 / 4:01 PM / a year ago

FOREX-Dollar stronger as Draghi warning on risks hurts euro

* Draghi says growth risks shift to downside

* Sterling steady after push to avert no-deal Brexit

* Pound slips after reaching 11-week highs (Updates rates, comments to U.S. market open; changes dateline, previous LONDON)

By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

NEW YORK, Jan 24 (Reuters) - The dollar rose to a more than five-week high against the euro on Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said economic risks have moved to the downside and near-term data is likely to be weaker than previously anticipated.

On Thursday, the ECB left its policy stance unchanged as expected, keeping a rate hike later this year on the table even as the euro zone economy suffers its biggest slowdown in half a decade.

“The risks surrounding the euro area growth outlook have moved to the downside on account of the persistence of uncertainties,” Draghi told a news conference, citing trade and geopolitical threats and emerging market volatility.

The euro was 0.18 percent lower against the dollar at $1.136, after falling as low as $1.1308, its weakest since Dec. 17.

“Draghi’s tone definitely shifted to a much more dovish fashion,” said Charles Tomes, associate portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.

“We definitely feel this opens the door for a little bit more downside risk in the euro with economic data continuing to be more on the weak side,” Tomes said.

The euro rose off session lows after Draghi downplayed deploying long-term refinancing operation funding (LTRO).

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus the euro, yen, British pound and three other currencies, was up 0.15 percent at 96.265.

“With the U.S. shutdown dragging on, trade negotiations with China at an impasse, and evidence of a deeper global economic malaise accumulating, currency markets are trading on a more cautious footing,” Karl Schamotta, chief market strategist at Cambridge Global Payments in Toronto, said in a note.

The United States and China are “miles and miles” from resolving trade issues but there is a fair chance the two countries will get a deal, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday.

The Republican-led U.S. Senate planned votes for Thursday on competing proposals, one broadly backed by Democrats and the other by Republicans, to end the partial government shutdown, both of which seemed unlikely to resolve the month-long impasse.

The dollar was helped by data that showed the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell to more than a 49-year low last week.

Britain’s pound was 0.2 percent lower against the greenback, after surging to a 11-week high overnight as investors consolidated positions before a key UK parliament debate next week.

Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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