Euro rally stalls again as ECB meeting looms

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

From International Desk - International Currency News

The euro fell against the dollar and a resurgent yen on Thursday, while sterling wallowed at multi-month lows as cautious investors awaited outcomes of central bank policy meetings in Europe and Britain.

Both the European Central Bank and Bank of England are widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged later on Thursday, but any dovish hints could put both currencies under pressure. Also overshadowing the meetings are incoming BOE Governor Mark Carney's testimony before the UK parliament as well as an Italian banking scandal, which is likely to be a distraction at the ECB's media conference.

"The overall trend for the euro hasn't changed, but it has paused," said Kimihiko Tomita, head of forex at State Street in Tokyo.

"The scandal stirs memories of past scandals, and there's the possibly that it, too, could become a bigger matter, so this is making some investors cautious," he said.

With the Bank of Japan committed to open-ended asset purchases from 2014 and aiming for a 2 percent inflation target, pressure on the yen is likely to continue, market participants said. U.S. speculative accounts were still actively buying the dollar on drips, with stop-loss orders said to be placed at 93.20 yen and just below 93 yen.

The euro moved away from a 34-month high of 127.71 yen hit on Wednesday, shedding 0.3 percent to 126.22 yen. Against the dollar, the euro was last down 0.1 percent at $1.3506, back near this week's trough of $1.3458 plumbed Tuesday and moving away from a 15-month peak of $1.3711 set on February 1. Sterling traded nearly flat at $1.5647, not far from a 4-1/2 month low of $1.5630 set Tuesday.

While markets appeared to be positioning for dovish comments from the ECB, some analysts suspect the bank will not be that bothered about the recent strength in the euro Vassili Serebriakov, strategist at BNP Paribas, said in a client note that the majority on the Governing Council will probably reason that the euro's strength is a result of real improvement in the financial markets and economic outlook, thus not warranting immediate action.

This could temper demand for the euro, which has risen more than 2 percent against the greenback so far this year and over 10 percent on the yen. The overnight pullback in the single currency helped the dollar index .DXY climb to a one-week high of 79.864 on Wednesday, though it fell to 79.799 as the greenback took a breather against the yen.

The dollar retreated 0.3 percent to 93.36 yen from a 33-month peak around 94.075 yen hit on Wednesday. The Australian dollar briefly jumped a quarter of a cent to $1.0333 after a mixed jobs report, before pulling back to $1.0310, not far from a near three-month low of $1.0296 hit on Wednesday. Australian employment rose by 10,400 in January while the jobless rate held steady at 5.4 pct, modestly beating market expectations. However, all the jobs growth was in part-time work with full-time jobs lower.

Forex open Market rates & comments Archive

Login Form