Euro zooms after upbeat ECB comments

The euro shot up Thursday, gaining 1.5 percent against the dollar, after European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi made upbeat remarks about the eurozone's economic outlook.

Draghi dashed speculation of an interest rate cut, saying the ECB decision to leave its record-low rate unchanged was "unanimous," propelling the euro higher.

The euro hit an eight-day high of $1.3261 around 2200 GMT, compared with $1.3061 at the same time Wednesday.

The euro jumped against the Japanese currency, to 117.53 yen from 114.77 yen late Wednesday, while the dollar advanced to 88.64 yen from 87.86 yen.

"Investors were surprised by the stronger-than-expected tone of the ECB and of Mr. Draghi because many of them were expecting a rate cut," said Charles St-Arnaud of Nomura.

Draghi, in a post-monetary policy meeting news conference, cited a batch of improvements in the ailing eurozone economy.

"With nothing in Mr. Draghi's comments that would point to a near-term ECB rate cut," the euro moved higher, said Nick Bennenbroek of Wells Fargo Bank.

The dollar fell to 0.9145 Swiss francs from 0.9250 francs late Wednesday.

After the Bank of England's policy meeting left rates unchanged as expected, the pound rose to $1.6158 from $1.6023 the prior day.

"If investors remain optimistic about the outlook for Europe and Asia, we could see a fresh leg lower in the dollar as investors dip their toes back into riskier assets," said Kathy Lien of BK Asset Management.

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