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Euro steadies on persistent hopes for ECB action
(Reuters) / 10 August 2012
The euro remained under pressure in Asia on Friday, though it was off its lows the day before as hopes for progress in Europe’s debt crisis offset some of the worries about slowing euro zone growth.
Weak German economic data weighed on the euro on Thursday, as well as the ECB’s latest monthly bulletin citing downside risks to the euro zone’s economic outlook.
Persistent hope that the European Central Bank will act to ease borrowing costs for Spain and Italy helped the European unit take back some of those losses, though investors were wary on the euro’s outlook.
The euro remained down 0.1 percent at $1.2294 but was well above Thursday’s low of $1.2266 and also above a more than two-year low of $1.2042 hit last month, though it was still shy of its one-month high of $1.2444 set on Monday.
“The euro is working its way through another small corrective phase within a massive, long-term downshift,” said Richard Hastings, macro strategist at Global Hunter Securities.
“A lot of attention is going to the euro’s existence, but our biggest worry is its price for now,” he said.
Still, euro buying flows have been observed in Asian morning trade recently, probably from funds squaring euro/dollar positions, said Yuji Saito, director of foreign exchange at Credit Agricole in Tokyo.
“The euro has been supported by traders reducing their long dollar positions ahead of summer holidays,” Saito said. “There are reasons to be concerned, but a lack of fresh factors or comments from key European figures to prompt further euro selling has led traders to adjust their positions.”
The euro bought 96.62 yen, above its low of 96.33 yen the day before but below Tuesday’s peak of 97.82 yen. It was narrowly holding above its 14-day moving average, now at 96.23 yen.
The US dollar was buying 78.60, still wedged in the narrow 77.90-78.80 yen range that has held since late July, after rising to a three-week peak of 78.79 yen on Thursday.
Saito also noted that the dollar may be supported against the yen by a changing view of US bonds as Treasury yields have been inching up on solid U.S. data, which could help scale back expectations for another round of bond buying by the Federal Reserve.
Citigroup positioning indicators suggest that foreign exchange markets have long positions in the carry and commodity currencies that they are funding in US dollars and sterling rather than euros, said Greg Anderson, senior currency strategist at Citigroup in New York, in a note to clients.
“However, no position size is anywhere close to large and for the most part positions are either shrinking or remaining flat, despite favourable price movements,” he said.
The Australian dollar was down about 0.3 percent at $1.0535 following the release of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s quarterly statement on monetary policy, in which it upgraded its 2012 outlook for economic growth but warned a strong currency could constrain growth to a greater extent than in the past.
The Aussie rose to $1.0615 on Thursday, its highest level since March 20.
The dollar index stood at 82.659, down from its high of 82.789 the day before but still well above a one-month low of 82.041 touched on Tuesday.
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