Euro Steady Ahead Of ECB; Aussie Slides On Weak Jobs Data

Big 5

The euro held steady above a nine-month low on Thursday ahead of a policy review by the European Central Bank, while the Aussie dollar tumbled after surprisingly weak Australian jobs data.

The Australian dollar slid 0.8 percent to $0.9284 AUD=D4, nearing a two-month low of $0.9275 set last week.

Although the Australian dollar will probably find some support at the early August trough of $0.9275, it is likely to head lower eventually, said Jeffrey Halley, FX trader for Saxo Capital Markets in Singapore.

“I think the U.S. dollar is strong, and the data coming out of Australia hasn’t been great,” he said.

The Aussie dollar took a hit from surprisingly weak Australian jobs data, which showed that the jobless rate jumped to a 12-year high of 6.4 percent in July, a disappointing report that could revive speculation about another cut in interest rates.

Some market participants were skeptical that the weak jobs data would immediately alter the outlook for Australia’s central bank to keep rates on holds for a while.

The Reserve Bank of Australia had kept its cash rate at a record low of 2.5 percent on Wednesday, marking a full year without a change.

The RBA is unlikely to change its policy stance based on one set of figures, especially since the jobs data is known to be volatile, said Divya Devesh, FX strategist for Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore.

“I don’t expect to see any change in stance from them. I still think they will remain neutral in the coming months,” Devesh said.

Moves among major currencies were generally subdued in Asia ahead of the ECB’s policy decision later in the day.

The ECB is expected to leave interest rates on hold as it assesses the impact of stimulus launched in June, when it cut interest rates to record lows, became the first major central bank to charge banks for holding their deposits overnight and launched a new ultra-cheap, four-year loan program.

However, weakness in some recent euro zone data coupled with persistently low inflation in the region should keep alive market expectations for the bank to eventually turn to quantitative easing.

Markets will be looking at how ECB President Mario Draghi characterizes the present state of the economy, given the risks to Germany’s economy are rising and the effect of Russian sanctions and geopolitical risk may have lowered the ECB’s outlook.

“An acknowledgement may be enough to send EUR lower, but the bigger risk is if they see these factors as only minimal or temporary. That may have a bigger positive impact on EUR; probably short-lived,” said Emma Lawson, senior currency strategist at National Australia Bank in Sydney.

The euro held steady at $1.3387 EUR=. On Wednesday, it had skidded to as low as $1.3333, its lowest level since last November as disappointing data from Italy and Germany soured sentiment toward the single currency.

Italy unexpectedly slid back into recession in the second quarter, while German industrial orders in June posted their biggest monthly fall since September 2011.

Against the yen, the euro edged up 0.1 percent to 136.81 yen EURJPY=R, staying above an eight-month low of 136.16 yen struck on Wednesday.

The dollar inched up 0.1 percent to about 102.19 yen JPY=, getting a breather after the previous day’s choppy moves.

On Wednesday, the greenback had dropped suddenly to a 1-1/2 week low near 101.76 yen from around 102.30 in a matter of a few minutes, prompting talk of a fat-finger trade, or a large order that created some indigestion.

Source : Reuters