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Euro edges higher ahead of ECB meeting

The euro on Wednesday moved higher against the dollar and the yen on the eve of a closely-watched policy meeting of the European Central Bank.

NEW YORK: The euro on Wednesday moved higher against the dollar and the yen on the eve of a closely-watched policy meeting of the European Central Bank.

The euro bought $1.3536 near 2300 GMT, up from $1.3515 on Tuesday.

The euro edged up to 137.38 yen from 137.36 of the Japanese currency.

The dollar declined to 101.49 yen from 101.64.

European data were mixed ahead of Thursday's ECB meeting. A report from Markit Economics on eurozone private sector business activity in January showed the seventh monthly rise in a row.

But Eurostat data showed eurozone retail sales fell 1.6 percent in December.

Analysts said ECB President Mario Draghi and other policy makers at the central bank are wary of recent data showing low inflation.

"The question of whether Draghi's comments will help or hurt the euro depends on whether he acknowledges the recent economic improvements in the economy or ignores them again," said BK Asset Management managing director Kathy Lien.

While the chance of further easing "is next to zero," most market watchers still expect "euro-negative comments" from Draghi, Lien said. "So any hint of optimism could send the euro sharply higher."

The dollar did not react strongly to mixed US economic data on private-sector jobs growth and economic activity in the services sector.

But analysts are closely watching Friday's labour market report for January, which could prompt major swings across markets, including foreign exchange.

Among other currencies, the British pound declined to $1.6308 from $1.6326 on Tuesday.

The dollar slipped to 0.9034 Swiss franc from 0.9037.

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