Euro struggles to hold to post-ECB gains, dollar hits 5-year peak on yen

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The euro steadied on Friday but was still set for weekly gains as the European Central Bank’s announcement that it will phase out its stimulus lent support to the single currency.

But rising stagflation worries arising from the Ukraine war continued to add pressure on the euro.

The U.S. dollar climbed to a five-year high on the yen after a strong U.S. inflation report.

After four consecutive weeks of declines, the euro surged this week as the ECB said it will phase out its stimulus in the third quarter, opening the door to an interest rate hike before the end of 2022 to combat soaring inflation.

But the ECB provided little lasting support to the euro, which edged 0.1% lower to $1.0975 as of 0930 GMT, after rising as high as $1.11215 on Thursday in a choppy day.

“On another day – i.e. pre-war – EUR/USD might have enjoyed lasting gains on ECB hawkishness,” said Chris Turner, Global Head of Markets at ING.

“Yet it looks unlikely that an ECB, barely matching (U.S. Federal Reserve) tightening, can generate a stronger euro in the face of heavy terms of trade losses.”

Talks between Ukraine and Russia on Thursday made little apparent progress towards ending a war that is now in its third week.

The dollar climbed to a five-year high on the yen, and was last up 0.7% to 116.97 yen after touching its highest level since January 2017 as markets prepare for Fed tightening.

Both the Fed and the Bank of Japan have policy meetings next week, but while the Fed is all but certain to hike rates from their pandemic low, the BOJ is set to remain an outlier.

The dollar rose against a basket of peers by 0.37% to 98.730.

Commodity-linked currencies took a breather. After their recent storming rally driven by higher commodity prices, the Norwegian crown and Canadian dollar were unchanged, while the Australian and New Zealand dollars lost a little ground.

The Ukraine war has also weighed on sterling, which has fallen 2.7% this month versus the dollar and hit a 16-month low on Friday at $1.3056.

Bitcoin fell 0.5% to $39,152. It had surged earlier this week after U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday requiring the government to assess the risks and benefits of creating a central bank digital dollar.