The euro extended gains on Thursday, hitting a session high against the dollar near $1.21 as stocks rose and investors took solace from a successful Spanish bond auction and a spike in Chinese exports.

Also, traders said the market was cheered a bit when the European Central Bank said its government bond purchasing program should not be viewed as a change to monetary policy.

The euro rose to $1.2092 EUR=, according to Reuters data, up 0.9 percent on the day. It fell below $1.19 on Monday to its lowest level since early 2006. (Editing by James Dalgleish)