FOREX-Dollar rally loses some steam, China data eyed

Mon Jul 8, 2013 7:49pm EDT

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* Dollar index retreats from three-year peak

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* China consumer inflation data next in focus

By Ian Chua

SYDNEY, July 9 (Reuters) - The dollar paused in its rally as investors bought beaten-down currencies such as the Australian dollar on Tuesday, though its broad uptrend is seen intact as the market tries to position for when the U.S. Federal Reserve will start to slow its stimulus.

The modest setback for the dollar came as the euro found some support after Greece secured a much needed bailout and Turkey's central bank sold a record $2.25 billion in foreign exchange to defend the lira.

The dollar eased 0.4 percent against a basket of major currencies , having scaled a three-year peak following Friday's upbeat jobs report.

The euro rose to $1.2867, pulling away from a seven-week trough of $1.2806 hit on Friday and tested on Monday. Traders said it faces resistance around $1.2883, the initial low hit on July 4, followed by $1.2923, the interim low of July 3, which triggered a small rebound to $1.3032.

Against the yen, the dollar slipped to 100.85 from Monday's six-week high of 101.53.

Part of the reason for the pullback is investors are already stuffed with dollars. Currency speculators hugely increased their bets in favour of the U.S. dollar in the week ended July 2, while turning negative on the euro.

Investors have grown increasingly bullish on the dollar after the Fed laid out a roadmap for scaling back its asset-purchase programme as the economy improves.

In contrast, the European Central Bank last week broke with tradition by declaring it would keep interest rates at record lows for an extended period, a pledge ECB President Mario Draghi reiterated on Monday.

"We remain bullish USD versus the currencies where central banks are signalling continued policy easing, most notably the EUR, GBP, CHF and JPY," analysts at BNP Paribas wrote in a report.

"We are more cautious versus the currencies of commodity exporter economies, where short positioning is generally stretched and where better U.S. data may provide some cushion against the negative effects of China's slowdown in the months ahead."

Investors are keenly waiting for a batch of Chinese data this week and next for clues on how the world's second-biggest economy is travelling. Consumer inflation is due on Tuesday, and trade figures will be released on Wednesday. Industrial output, retail sales and GDP are all due next week.

The market will also be watching how Asian currencies fare following Turkey's intervention to shore up its currency. Central banks across emerging markets have been fighting an outflow of foreign capital driven by the impending turn in U.S. policy.

The Australian dollar, usually used as a proxy for emerging markets, jumped 0.8 percent to as high as $0.9145 overnight, pulling away from a 34-month trough of $0.9036 plumbed last week. It was last at $0.9135.

Latest data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed currency speculators held a record net short position in the Aussie for the week ended July 2.

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