The euro catapulted to an 18-month high versus the yen and hit a one-week peak against the dollar Thursday after the European Central Bank gave no indication of cutting rates and as robust Chinese export data assuaged concerns about global growth.
The single currency shared by 17 countries rose for the first time in three sessions against the dollar as the ECB unanimously left interest rates unchanged at 0.75 percent.
Market participants had been wary that the ECB would signal rate cuts in the coming months at ECB President Mario Draghi's news conference, but when that did not happen, the euro's gains accelerated.
"Mr. Draghi's normal tone of realism was replaced with a certain aura of optimism and giddiness," said Neal Gilbert, market strategist at GFT Forex, in Grand Rapids, Mich. "He smiled more, defended a potential recovery more, and overall appeared to feel proud of the work he had done."
Draghi said euro zone economic weakness was expected to extend into 2013, but the region should gradually recover later in the year, and risks to its outlook were on the downside.