FOREX-Euro dips as caution prevails before ECB meeting
* Euro stop-loss orders said to lie below $1.2475
* Euro zone data gloomy, adds to pressure on euro
* Aussie skids to eight-week low on China slowdown fears
By Anirban Nag
LONDON, Sept 5 (Reuters) - The euro dipped on Wednesday on scepticism among some investors such as sovereign funds that steps by the European Central Bank to stem the debt crisis could fall short of market expectations.
But losses were likely to be limited as some still expected the ECB would announce on Thursday details of a bond-buying programme to lower Spanish and Italian borrowing costs.
The euro was down 0.2 percent at $1.2544. Its fall from a two-month high of $1.26378 hit on Friday on trading platform EBS highlighted growing investor caution, with stop loss orders reported below $1.2475.
"Many are concerned that the ECB may just give us bare bones while others are of the view that even if they give details to the plan, it would be a good time to sell the currency as the economic data from the region has been deteriorating," said Jane Foley, senior currency strategist at Rabobank.
"These factors have been sapping the euro and this will be the prevailing tone in the run-up to the ECB meeting tomorrow."
The euro has risen from a two-year low of $1.2042 in late July since ECB chief Mario Draghi pledged he would do everything to preserve the currency, suggesting possible intervention in bond markets to lower peripheral countries' borrowing costs.
He told European lawmakers on Monday that purchases of short-term sovereign bonds to help debt-burdened countries would not breach European Union rules, according to a recording obtained by Reuters.
Data on Wednesday confirmed French and German services sectors contracted in August, showing the economic rot was spreading well beyond the periphery and raising the chances of the ECB cutting interest rates in coming months.
Credit Agricole were forecasting a 25 basis point cut in the refinancing rate on Thursday, which FX strategist Stephen Gallo said could knock the single currency briefly lower.
"A cut would take some people by surprise and we could see weakness in the euro. But some might believe that is indicative of a very euro positive outcome from Draghi's press conference and would not want to be short going into that," he said.
The euro climbed its highest level in nearly a month against the Swiss franc at 1.2015 francs on market talk the Swiss National Bank was buying euros to defend its 1.20 francs floor. Thursday will be the one-year anniversary of the SNB's decision to cap the franc through currency market intervention.
Beyond the ECB meeting, investors will look at U.S. non-farm payrolls data on Friday. A weaker-than-expected number could bolster expectations of more quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve, perhaps later this month.
The dollar was steady at 78.36 Japanese yen.
The Australian dollar hit an eight-week low of $1.0167 on speculation the Reserve Bank will cut interest rates to cushion the economy from falling commodity prices.
The Bank of Canada meets on Wednesday and investors will look beyond its expected decision to keep the main policy rate at 1 percent to focus on whether Governor Mark Carney will change the message that the central bank may need to hike rates.
Some analysts say he may change tack and that could weigh on the Canadian dollar, which was lower on the day. The U.S. dollar was up 0.3 percent at C$0.9888.
"Many observers believe that Governor Carney will have to change now that both the ECB and the Fed look to provide further easing measures maybe as early as this month," said Dean Poppelwell, chief currency analyst at OANDA.
But he expected the Canadian dollar to draw support from sovereign investors diversifying out of the dollar and the euro.
- White House reverses, says Obama met uncle and lived with him during law school
- Flights delayed as air pollution hits record in Shanghai
- South Africa mourns Mandela, will bury him on December 15 |
- Analysis: Boeing bidders dangle goodies to win 777X jetliner
- RPT-UPDATE 1-Ford leans on global Mustang to burnish overseas image