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FOREX-Dollar nurses losses after jobs data mars recovery narrative; sterling buoyant

    * Dollar continues to take cues from economy instead of
sentiment
    * Ethereum marks new record high while bitcoin takes a
breather
    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

    By Kevin Buckland
    TOKYO, Feb 19 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar paused on Friday
after its biggest loss in 10 days as disappointing U.S. labour
market data bruised optimism for a speedy recovery from the
COVID-19 pandemic.
    The greenback continued to buck its traditional role as a
safe-harbour currency, falling in sympathy with U.S. stocks
overnight after an unexpected increase in weekly jobless claims
soured the economic outlook.
    The British pound traded near an almost three-year high
reached overnight, when it surged the most in more than a month,
amid Britain's aggressive vaccination programme. 
    The dollar index was little changed at 90.561 in the
Asian session, after a 0.4% decline overnight cut short a
two-day winning streak. For the week, the gauge is now back to
more or less break-even. 
    The string of soft labour data is weighing on the dollar
even as other indicators have shown resilience, and as President
Joe Biden's pandemic relief efforts take shape, including a
proposed $1.9 trillion spending package.
    "The prospect of a massive U.S. fiscal stimulus plus a
successful vaccine roll-out are solid arguments to bet on a U.S.
recovery this year," Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign exchange
strategist at National Australia Bank in Sydney, wrote in a
client note.
    "But the overnight jobless claims data serve as a reminder
of the unevenness of the recovery so far."
    Sterling was mostly flat at $1.3965 on Friday
following a 0.8% jump in the previous session, when it rose as
high as $1.3986 for the first time since April 2018.
    The euro was little changed at $1.2093 after
rising 0.4% overnight.
    The dollar bought 105.555 yen, little changed
following a two-day retreat from the five-month high of 106.225
reached Wednesday.
    Many analyst expect the dollar to weaken over the course of
the year as it has traditionally done during times of global
economic recovery, though it might take some time to develop.
    "It looks to me like there’s some exhaustion in that
just-straight global reflation theme," leading the dollar to
trend largely sideways for now, said Daniel Been, head of FX at
ANZ in Sydney.
    The trade should reignite once fiscal stimulus starts to
kick in and services start to reopen in a more fulsome way, he
said.
    "We see it broadly as a dollar-negative story," he said.
    In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin traded at
$51,335.71, consolidating for a second day after hitting a
record $52,640 on Wednesday in a rally fuelled by endorsements
from Tesla Inc and others. It has risen about 78% so
far in 2021, after more than quadrupling last year.
    Smaller rival ethereum rose to a record $1,951.89
on Friday, just pipping the previous day's high, before trading
at $1,909.41. It has surged some 162% this year.    
    On Thursday, chipmaker Nvidia Corp announced a new
processor designed specifically for mining ethereum.
    
========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 535 GMT
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.2094        $1.2091     +0.03%         -1.01%      +1.2098     +1.2083
 Dollar/Yen                   105.5620       105.6600    -0.07%         +2.23%      +105.7270   +105.5900
 Euro/Yen                     127.69         127.79      -0.08%         +0.61%      +127.8500   +127.6600
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.8961         0.8960      +0.04%         +1.32%      +0.8969     +0.8958
 Sterling/Dollar              1.3968         1.3972      -0.01%         +2.25%      +1.3973     +1.3952
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2698         1.2678      +0.17%         -0.27%      +1.2712     +1.2673
 Aussie/Dollar                0.7772         0.7769      +0.07%         +1.07%      +0.7775     +0.7758
 NZ                           0.7216         0.7220      +0.00%         +0.54%      +0.7224     +0.7206
 Dollar/Dollar All spots
Tokyo spots
Europe spots 
Volatilities 
Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ 

    
 (Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Christopher Cushing
and Kim Coghill)
  
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