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FOREX-Dollar holds gains after inflation surprise; Bitcoin partly recovers

* Dollar index holds post-CPI gains

* Weekly jobless claims due

* Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

LONDON, May 13 (Reuters) - The dollar held on to its gains in early European trading on Thursday, having strengthened in the previous session after a surprisingly large rise in U.S. consumer prices fanned inflation fears.

Data showed that U.S. consumer prices increased by the most in nearly 12 years in April, sparking a “risk-off” move in global markets: equities and riskier currencies fell while U.S. Treasury yields rose.

Market attention now turns to U.S. weekly jobless claims due at 1230 GMT and retail sales numbers on Friday for guidance on whether upward pressure on prices will persist.

U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida said on Wednesday that weak job growth and strong inflation in April had not changed the central bank’s plan to maintain loose monetary policy.

The dollar index was steady at 90.734 at 0758 GMT, compared to Wednesday’s high of 90.798.

ING strategists wrote in a note to clients that risk-averse currency market moves were unlikely to persist, and the dollar index would weaken back below 90 in the coming weeks.

“While surging prices are a clear world-wide phenomenon and we agree that the Fed will have to hike earlier than it currently indicates (possibly in Q1 2023 rather than in 2024 as the Fed currently forecasts) an imminent tightening from the Fed seems unlikely,” ING said.

The Australian dollar, which is seen as a proxy for risk appetite, was down 0.3% at 0.77055 versus the dollar, extending losses after having its biggest daily drop since March on Wednesday.

The New Zealand dollar briefly rose after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was exploring quarantine-free travel with other countries, but was last down 0.2%.

The euro was up 0.1% at $1.2084. The Japanese yen was flat against the dollar, with the pair changing hands at 109.675.

BITCOIN REBOUND

Bitcoin plunged 17% overnight when Elon Musk said in a tweet that Tesla Inc will no longer accept the cryptocurrency for car purchases.

The cryptocurrency dropped from around $54,819 to $45,700, its lowest since March 1.

But it recovered during the Asian session and was up 3% at around $50,908 at 0759 GMT.

Ether, the second biggest cryptocurrency after bitcoin, followed a similar pattern, dropping 14% before bouncing back. Ether hit another record high on Wednesday and is up around 440%on the year.

Bitcoin is still up around 30% from where it was just before Tesla said on Feb. 8 that it had invested around $1.5 billion in bitcoin and would accept it for payment in the near future.

Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; additional reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Toby Chopra

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