By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch

Pound jumps after U.K. inflation rises to highest since 2013

The euro gained against the dollar on Tuesday, with analysts attributing the rally to centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron performing well in France's first televised presidential debate.

The shared currency was buying $1.0797, up from $1.0742 late Monday in New York. The euro on Tuesday has traded as high as $1.0805, a level last seen about six weeks ago, according to FactSet data.

Macron appears to have won the debate, and his improved prospects in the presidential race are providing support for the euro, said Richard Perry, a Hantec Marketsanalyst, in a note.

Markets have become "fairly sanguine over the risks of populism driving a Le Pen victory," Perry said, referring to far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who has called for France to abandon the euro (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/is-frexit-next-why-france-is-starting-to-really-freak-out-investors-2017-02-07).

Macron was seen as the most convincing of the top five election contenders in the debate, said a Reuters report (http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-france-election-poll-idUKKBN16R2R4?il=0) citing an Elabe opinion poll released shortly after the debate ended.

In other currencies trading, the pound jumped to $1.2458 after data showed U.K. inflation rose to 2.3% in February, the highest level since 2013. Analysts had expected inflation to come in around 2.1%. Sterling bought $1.2357 late Monday in New York.

The buck was largely losing ground. The ICE Dollar Index , which measures the greenback against a half-dozen rivals, traded at 99.96, down from 100.35 late Monday.

But the dollar was higher against the yen , changing hands at Yen112.67 compared with Yen112.55 late Monday.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 21, 2017 05:35 ET (09:35 GMT)

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