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FOREX-Euro hits two-year high, Switzerland named currency manipulator

 (Adds Treasury report on Swiss franc, U.S. data, updates
prices; previous LONDON)
    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

    By Karen Brettell
    NEW YORK, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Strong euro zone survey figures
and hopes of progress on Brexit negotiations pushed the euro
above $1.22 against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday for the first
time since April 2018.
    The Swiss franc, meanwhile, gained briefly after the U.S.
Treasury labelled Switzerland a currency manipulator.
    The euro has risen nearly 13% since the European Union
announced a recovery fund in May. Stronger economic activity
data in recent months have also boosted bets that Europe is
likely to outperform the United States in the coming months.
    Those expectations got a further boost with manufacturing
survey data from Germany and France indicating that Europe's
biggest economies may be recovering quickly. and

    Against the U.S. dollar, the euro rose 0.31% to
$1.2186 after earlier reaching as high as $1.2211.
    "European PMIs, Brexit and a likely dovish Fed are boosting
risk appetite in the currency markets," said Kenneth Broux, a
strategist at Societe Generale in London.
    Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European
Commission, said she could not say whether the EU and Britain
would reach a trade agreement, but progress had been made and
the next few days would be critical.
    Investors are also keeping an eye on the outcome of a
two-day Federal Reserve policy meeting on Wednesday.
Policymakers are expected to keep the U.S. overnight interest
rate near zero and signal it will stay there for years to come,
a decision that analysts say will further boost risk sentiment.
    "There's a feel-good momentum in the market," said Bart
Wakabayashi, Tokyo branch manager of State Street Bank in Tokyo.
    The dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against a
basket of currencies, was last at 90.26, a level not seen
since April 2018.
    The index slightly pared losses after data showed that U.S.
retail sales fell for a second straight month in November.

    The Swiss franc briefly gained against the dollar after the
U.S. Treasury labelled Switzerland and Vietnam as currency
manipulators. It was last at 0.8846, with the dollar down 0.9%
against the currency on the day.
    The Treasury said that through June 2020 both Switzerland
and Vietnam had intervened in currency markets to prevent
effective balance of payments adjustments.
    It is not surprising that the Trump administration might
make a case about currency manipulation, given recent "runaway
appreciation" of the Swissy, which is near six-year highs, said
Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business
Solutions.
    Meanwhile Bitcoin smashed through $20,000 for the
first time on Wednesday, its highest ever. Bitcoin has gained
more than 170% this year, buoyed by demand from larger investors
attracted to its potential for quick gains, purported
inflation-resistant qualities, and expectations it will become a
mainstream payment method.

    ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 8:48AM (1348 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Dollar index                 90.2600        90.4790     -0.23%         +0.00%      +90.5440    +90.1260
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.2186        $1.2151     +0.31%         +8.72%      +$1.2212    +$1.2145
 Dollar/Yen                   103.4400       103.6550    -0.23%         -4.79%      +103.7150   +103.2650
 Euro/Yen                     126.06         125.95      +0.09%         +3.37%      +126.1800   +125.7200
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.8846         0.8855      -0.09%         -8.57%      +0.8861     +0.8826
 Sterling/Dollar              $1.3527        $1.3470     +0.45%         +2.01%      +$1.3553    +$1.3436
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2751         1.2698      +0.43%         -1.84%      +1.2762     +1.2697
 Aussie/Dollar                $0.7561        $0.7556     +0.10%         +7.79%      +$0.7578    +$0.7546
 Euro/Swiss                   1.0780         1.0759      +0.20%         -0.66%      +1.0790     +1.0762
 Euro/Sterling                0.9007         0.9022      -0.17%         +6.54%      +0.9054     +0.8994
 NZ                           $0.7091        $0.7091     +0.01%         +5.39%      +$0.7120    +$0.7085
 Dollar/Dollar                                                                                  
 Dollar/Norway                8.6920         8.7145      -0.24%         -0.89%      +8.7325     +8.6540
 Euro/Norway                  10.5940        10.5884     +0.05%         +7.69%      +10.6146    +10.5627
 Dollar/Sweden                8.3597         8.3682      +0.04%         -10.57%     +8.3905     +8.3289
 Euro/Sweden                  10.1890        10.1848     +0.04%         -2.68%      +10.2010    +10.1680
 

    

 (Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in London and
Suzanne Barlyn in New York, Editing by William Maclean)
  
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