December 22, 2017 / 4:03 PM / 6 months ago

FOREX-Euro slides on Catalan vote; bitcoin plummets

 (Adds comment, table, updates prices, changes byline, dateline;
previous LONDON)
    * Pro-independence parties win seats in blow to Madrid
    * U.S. government shutdown averted for now
    * Bitcoin tumbles, briefly slipping below $12,000

    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The euro fell against the
dollar on Friday after Catalan separatists won a regional
election, prompting worries about the possible break-up of the
euro zone's fourth-largest economy. 
    Spain's government had hoped that the Catalan election would
strip pro-independence parties of their control of the regional
parliament and end their campaign to force a split. But with 96
percent of ballots counted in a vote to elect Catalonia's
regional parliament, separatist parties are seen winning 70
seats out of 135.
   "The euro dipped on the (Catalan) headline but it is not
obvious that the vote advances the issue one way or the other
and the euro found good support on dips," said Shaun Osborne,
chief FX strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto.
    The euro slid 0.3 percent to $1.1835. Europe's common
currency though was still up nearly 13 percent so far this year,
on track for its best yearly performance in 14 years.
    The dollar, meanwhile, was little moved by Friday's mixed
batch of economic data.
    Reports showed U.S. consumer spending accelerated in
November and shipments of key capital goods orders increased for
the 10th straight month. However, household savings dropped last
month to their lowest in more than nine years. Low savings
suggest the strong pace of consumer spending is unlikely to be
sustained unless there is a significant pickup in wage
growth.
    Analysts said trading volumes were thin ahead of the 
Christmas holiday, which could cause some volatility. 
    Friday's most eye-catching mover was once again bitcoin,
although this time because of losses. It plunged as much as 25
percent on the day at one point to below $12,000, having lost a
third of its value since Sunday. 
    The dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against a
basket of six major rivals, was up 0.2 percent at 93.400.
For the year, however, the index was down 8.5 percent.
    One immediate threat to dollar bulls was removed on
Thursday, as the U.S. Senate approved a bill to fund the federal
government through Jan. 19 and avert agency shutdowns ahead of a
Friday midnight deadline. The bill now goes to President Donald
Trump to sign into law.   
    Congress also approved the most significant U.S. tax code
overhaul in three decades that is expected to give a short-term
lift to already solid economic growth, also supporting the
dollar.    
    The dollar was steady against the yen at 113.37.
    On Thursday, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda
reinforced expectations that the BOJ was in no hurry to move
away from its ultra-loose monetary policy.

========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 10:50AM (1550 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Euro/Dollar      EUR=        $1.1834        $1.1873     -0.33%         +12.57%     +1.1876     +1.1818
 Dollar/Yen       JPY=        113.3900       113.3200    +0.06%         -2.98%      +113.4400   +113.2800
 Euro/Yen         EURJPY=     134.17         134.54      -0.28%         +8.96%      +134.5800   +133.9200
 Dollar/Swiss     CHF=        0.9902         0.9883      +0.19%         -2.71%      +0.9911     +0.9883
 Sterling/Dollar  GBP=        1.3369         1.3384      -0.11%         +8.37%      +1.3397     +1.3361
 Dollar/Canadian  CAD=        1.2767         1.2738      +0.23%         -4.94%      +1.2795     +1.2697
 Australian/Doll  AUD=        0.7715         0.7700      +0.19%         +6.93%      +0.7720     +0.7701
 ar                                                                                             
 Euro/Swiss       EURCHF=     1.1721         1.1736      -0.13%         +9.37%      +1.1744     +1.1698
 Euro/Sterling    EURGBP=     0.8849         0.8869      -0.23%         +3.89%      +0.8876     +0.8837
 NZ               NZD=        0.7006         0.7016      -0.14%         +0.94%      +0.7026     +0.7004
 Dollar/Dollar                                                                                  
 Dollar/Norway    NOK=        8.3299         8.3524      -0.27%         -3.56%      +8.3886     +8.3142
 Euro/Norway      EURNOK=     9.8596         9.9199      -0.61%         +8.52%      +9.9305     +9.8556
 Dollar/Sweden    SEK=        8.3635         8.3786      -0.50%         -8.17%      +8.4100     +8.3459
 Euro/Sweden      EURSEK=     9.8990         9.9489      -0.50%         +3.33%      +9.9717     +9.8887
 
    
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by
Jemima Kelly in London; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
  
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