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FOREX-Dollar set for 4th weekly drop on dovish Fed; loonie at 3-year high
* Dollar index heads for 2.8% monthly loss, worst since July
* Canadian dollar buoyed by BoC tapering, rally in crude oil
* Yen languishes amid higher U.S. yields, record stock rally
* Ether hovers near all-time high; bitcoin stuck near $54,000
By Kevin Buckland
TOKYO, April 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar skidded toward a fourth straight weekly decline against a basket of major peers on Friday, as the Federal Reserve stuck to its message of ultra-low interest rates for longer.
The dollar index was on course to end the week 0.2% lower, bringing its losses for April to 2.8%. A four-week losing streak would be the longest since the six-week slide to the end of July, and the monthly loss would also be the biggest since July's 4% slump.
The Canadian dollar climbed to a more-than-three-year high of C$1.2273 per greenback on Friday, on track for a 1.7% weekly gain that would be its biggest since the start of November.
At the conclusion of the Fed's latest policy meeting on Wednesday, Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged the U.S. economy's growth, but said there was not yet enough evidence of "substantial further progress" toward recovery to warrant a change to policy.
That growth accelerated in the first quarter, buoyed by government stimulus cheques, setting the course for what is expected to be the strongest performance this year in nearly four decades.
Signs that a strengthening economy, particularly in the labour market, might force the Fed into an earlier tapering of its asset-purchase programmed had pushed the dollar index, or DXY, to a five-month high at the end of March.
"DXY may attempt a rebound in coming days as expectations turn to a potentially blockbuster April payrolls next week, but gains will prove short-lived with Fed officials to underscore Powell’s resolutely dovish stance," Westpac strategists wrote in a client note.
The gauge is likely to drop below 90 in the near term, from 90.6 currently, but the "DXY's depreciation trend is likely more of an ongoing grind than a wholesale sharp setback," they said.
The Fed's dovishness was in marked contrast to the Bank of Canada, which has already begun to taper its asset purchases. Canada's commodity-linked loonie got additional support from a surge in oil prices to a six-week peak.
Higher commodity prices also supported the Australian dollar
, which gained 0.2% to $0.77795, climbing back toward the six-week high of $0.78180 touched Thursday.
The euro has largely flat at $1.2122, near the two-month high of $1.2150 set the previous session. The shared currency is up 0.2% for the week and 3.3% for the month.
The yen saw opposite fortunes, hurt by a recovery in U.S. Treasury yields and a rally to record highs for global stocks that sapped demand for the safest assets.
Japan's currency changed hands at 108.86 per dollar, near the two-week low of 109.22 from Thursday, setting it up for a loss of about 1% for the week.
In cryptocurrencies, ether hovered just below a record high of $2,800.89 set on Thursday, after being lifted this week on media reports about the European Investment Bank's plans to launch a "digital bond" sale on the ethereum blockchain network.
Bigger rival bitcoin traded at $53,511.89, vacillating around that level this week after dipping as low as $47,004.20 on Sunday following a sharp retreat from the record high of $64,895.22 marked in the middle of the month.
Currency bid prices at 119 GMT
Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid
Euro/Dollar $1.2123 $1.2122 +0.01% -0.78% +1.2127 +1.2117
Dollar/Yen 108.8470 108.9100 -0.05% +5.39% +109.0450 +108.8600
Euro/Yen <EURJPY=EB 131.96 131.99 -0.02% +3.97% +132.1900 +131.9400
Dollar/Swiss 0.9084 0.9089 -0.05% +2.68% +0.9092 +0.9085
Sterling/Dollar 1.3954 1.3946 +0.09% +2.17% +1.3957 +1.3941
Dollar/Canadian 1.2273 1.2278 -0.01% -3.59% +1.2283 +1.2272
Aussie/Dollar 0.7776 0.7766 +0.14% +1.09% +0.7783 +0.7767
NZ 0.7247 0.7243 +0.06% +0.92% +0.7250 +0.7241
All spots Tokyo spots Europe spots Volatilities Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ
<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ World FX rates
(Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)