FOREX-Forecast-beating German and French data lift euro
* Euro rises as investors after better-than-expected data
* Markets take profits on commodity currencies
* U.S. retail sales, consumer price data also awaited
By Anirban Nag
LONDON, Aug 14 (Reuters) - The euro rose for a second successive day on Tuesday, buoyed by better-than-expected French and German growth data, but gains could be tempered by concerns the broader euro zone is in a deep slowdown.
Expectations the European Central Bank will step in next month to lower borrowing costs for peripheral countries like Spain and Italy has lent support to the euro in recent weeks. But that support will tested when the German ZEW survey and euro zone growth data are released later in the day.
German gross domestic product grew 0.3 percent in the second quarter, seasonally-adjusted, slightly better than expectations on solid exports and consumption. The French economy also narrowly avoided contracting in the second quarter.
The euro zone as a whole is, however, expected to show a contraction of 0.2 percent on the quarter, following a flat first quarter. While a contraction is priced in and is unlikely to hurt the euro much, a worse-than-expected reading could see the common currency pare its gains.
The euro was up 0.4 percent to $1.2380, pulling away from Monday's low around $1.2262 and back toward last week's high of $1.2444 on the EBS trading platform. Traders cited stop-loss orders at $1.2450.
"These were modestly better than expected numbers out of France and Germany and these days any number that does not disappoint tends to give the euro support," said Daragh Maher, strategist, at HSBC.
"Still it is not a game changer as the peripheral euro zone countries are struggling due to tough austerity measures. We expect the euro to be stuck very much within its recent range."
The euro also edged higher after a spokeswoman for Germany's constitutional court said no delay was anticipated to an expected verdict on Sept. 12 on the euro zone's rescue funds and the EU's fiscal pact. The verdict is likely to clear some of the uncertainty hanging over the euro.
U.S. DATA AWAITED
The euro rose 0.7 percent to 97.20 yen, moving past stops placed at 97 yen. The common currency hit a one-month high of 97.82 early last week.
The euro's latest gains were particularly apparent against growth-related currencies like the Australian and New Zealand dollars. It was up 0.2 percent to A$1.1750, having gained nearly 0.9 percent on Monday, pulling away from recent record lows below A$1.16..
Growth-linked currencies took a hit in recent session due to fresh signs the Chinese economy was slowing.
U.S. data will take centre stage later in the session. Retail sales figures for July will offer an important update on how consumer demand fared at the start of the third quarter. The U.S. will also release consumer price data..
Worse-than-expected figures would add to expectations the Federal Reserve will act to stimulate the economy, perhaps with another round of quantitative easing through bond purchases, or QE3. But some strategists caution that investors should also brace for a positive surprise.
"Our bet would be that if our baseline view is wrong, the surprise will be on the positive side, rather than negative," Citigroup FX strategist Steven Englander said in a note to clients. "This would undercut any residual imminent QE3 expectations."
The euro's bounce saw the dollar index dip to 82.249, retreating from a one-week high of 82.870 set on Friday.
The greenback rose 0.4 percent to 78.55 yen, but was still in the 78.00-78.80 range that has held since late July.
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