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FOREX-Bitcoin breaks $20,000 for first time, Switzerland named currency manipulator

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

    By Suzanne Barlyn
    Dec 16 (Reuters) - Bitcoin smashed through $20,000 for the first time on Wednesday while
the Swiss franc gained after the U.S. Treasury labelled Switzerland a currency manipulator.
    Bitcoin last jumped 6.9% to move as high as $20,651.
    The cryptocurrency 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.
    "The latest run to $20,000 hasn't been accompanied by nearly the amount of hype as there was back in
2017," said Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke Investment Group. Bitcoin then garnered more interest from
retail investors, but some may now be leery after getting burned, Hickey said. 
    The Treasury, also on Wednesday, 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.
    The Swiss Franc was last at 0.8844, with the dollar down 0.12% against the currency on the day.
    The Swiss government, on Wednesday, said it is open for bilateral talks with the U.S. Treasury about
the currency manipulation issue.
    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, but later notched
downward.
    Against the U.S. dollar, the euro rose 0.40% to $1.2199 after earlier reaching as high as
$1.2212.
    The dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of currencies, was last at 90.2370
, 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, but then fell again.
    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.
    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
    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.
    ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 9:49AM (1449 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Dollar index                 90.2370        90.4790     -0.26%         +0.00%      +90.5440    +90.1260
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.2199        $1.2151     +0.40%         +8.82%      +$1.2212    +$1.2145
 Dollar/Yen                   103.5050       103.6550    -0.19%         -4.75%      +103.7150   +103.2650
 Euro/Yen                     126.26         125.95      +0.25%         +3.53%      +126.3400   +125.7200
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.8844         0.8855      -0.12%         -8.60%      +0.8866     +0.8826
 Sterling/Dollar              $1.3508        $1.3470     +0.29%         +1.85%      +$1.3553    +$1.3436
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2757         1.2698      +0.48%         -1.79%      +1.2762     +1.2697
 Aussie/Dollar                $0.7561        $0.7556     +0.09%         +7.78%      +$0.7578    +$0.7546
 Euro/Swiss                   1.0787         1.0759      +0.26%         -0.60%      +1.0806     +1.0762
 Euro/Sterling                0.9029         0.9022      +0.08%         +6.80%      +0.9054     +0.8994
 NZ                           $0.7088        $0.7091     +0.00%         +5.38%      +$0.7120    +$0.7085
 Dollar/Dollar                                                                                  
 Dollar/Norway                8.6875         8.7145      -0.26%         -0.91%      +8.7325     +8.6540
 Euro/Norway                  10.5992        10.5884     +0.10%         +7.74%      +10.6146    +10.5627
 Dollar/Sweden                8.3441         8.3682      -0.06%         -10.73%     +8.3905     +8.3289
 Euro/Sweden                  10.1782        10.1848     -0.06%         -2.78%      +10.2010    +10.1680
 

    

 (Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn)
  
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