The euro soared to a five-year peak against the struggling pound on Wednesday and scaled a three-week high against the yen, bolstered by rising euro zone government bond yields.
Most euro zone bond yields rose to two-week highs in European trade, a day after a Bloomberg article cited sources as saying the European Central Bank would probably wind down its bond buying gradually before ending quantitative easing.
An ECB media officer said in a tweet later on Tuesday that the ECB had not discussed reducing the pace of its monthly bond buying.
Nevertheless, rising German bund yields saw rate differentials move in favour of the euro, giving the currency a leg up. The euro rose to 88.43 British pence EURGBP=D4, a level last seen five years ago, and gained 0.4 percent to 115.85 yen EURJPY=, its highest in three weeks.
The euro EUR= was also 0.2 percent higher against the dollar at $1.1226.
"The headlines that the ECB is considering tapering has led to some buying in the euro, especially against the yen," said Yujiro Goto, currency strategist at Nomura.
"We do not think the ECB is anywhere close to tapering its asset purchase programme, but in the near-term momentum is towards euro upside."
The single currency has been relatively subdued against the dollar in the past few months as the ECB has been easing extensively while the Federal Reserve is preparing to raise interest rates.
"It remains to be seen if the report can be substantiated. But the mood in the market appears to have shifted with the mention of ECB tapering as it would spell an end to monetary policy divergence," said Masashi Murata, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo.
DOLLAR AWAITS DATA
The euro's rise saw the dollar retreat from near a two-month high against a basket of currencies. The greenback had been on a strong footing after rallying at the start of the week on an upbeat survey of the U.S. manufacturing sector.
It got an additional lift after Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker said on Tuesday there was a strong case for raising rates. Traders will focus on the ADP jobs report along with the ISM non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index set to be released later in the day.
The dollar index was down 0.1 percent at 96.063 .DXY, having risen to 96.442 on Tuesday, its highest since Aug. 9. It was higher against the yen at 103.06 yen JPY, having posted a three-week high of 103.16 yen in the European session.
Sterling meanwhile fell below $1.27 GBP for the first time in over three decades on worries that Britain's separation from the European Union could be rocky and have adverse economic consequences. It was last trading at $1.2726, flat on the day.
Reference: Anirban Nag