Euro rises against the U.S. dollar

The 13-nation euro remained higher against the U.S. dollar Wednesday as Spain reported its strongest growth since 2001.

The euro bought US$1.3152 in morning European trading, slightly up from its level of US$1.3143 in New York late Tuesday, after Spain said its economy rose by 3.9 percent in 2006.

Spain's gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 4 percent in the fourth quarter, the strongest rate since late 2001, the government statistics agency said.

The markets were also looking ahead to the U.S. Labor Department's consumer price index for January, a closely watched gauge of inflation that could shed light on the Federal Reserve's next move on interest rates.

Minutes from the Fed's last meeting are also scheduled for release later Wednesday. The central bank kept interest rates unchanged at 5.25 percent for the fifth straight time at its Jan. 30-31 meeting, reports AP.

The British pound rose to US$1.9568 from US$1.9540 as traders looked to the release of the minutes from the last meeting of the Bank of England.

The dollar bought 120.56 yen up from 120.22 yen Tuesday after the Bank of Japan, encouraged by signs of robust economic growth, raised its benchmark interest rate to 0.5 percent, judging that price stability and consumer spending would withstand slightly tighter credit.

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