* Euro broadly lower as ECB officials sing from same dovish sheet
* Dollar higher, ignores downgrade to Q1 GDP
* Aussie also better bid as ex-PM returns to top job
By Ian Chua
SYDNEY, June 27 (Reuters) - The euro nursed broad losses in early Asian trade on Thursday as investors turned on the common currency after European Central Bank officials made clear any policy tightening remained a very distant prospect.
ECB President Mario Draghi, Executive Board member Yves Mersch and policymaker Christian Noyer, were all out in force on Wednesday stressing the ECB was not preparing to start winding down stimulus, in contrast to the Federal Reserve.
The euro plumbed a near four-week low near $1.2984, taking total losses since June 19 to more than 3 percent. It was last at $1.3008, little changed from late New York levels.
Against the yen, the common currency was at 127.30 , having skidded 0.7 percent to a one-week low of 126.57. It fell more than 1 percent on the New Zealand dollar to a near two-week low of NZ$1.6574.
“The euro has shifted from being a relative outperformer to relative underperformer this week,” BNP Paribas analysts wrote in a client note.
“A number of ECB officials have been ‘on message’ in stressing that policy will remain accommodative, apparently eager to draw an implicit contrast between its stance and the Fed’s tapering message.”
Not helping the euro, two newspapers on Wednesday warned Italy faced 8 billion euros in losses on derivative contracts restructured at the height of the euro zone crisis, prompting the country’s economy minister to deny the reports.
Pressure on the euro helped the dollar index climb 0.4 percent to 83.025, a high not seen since the start of the month. The index, which tracks the greenback against a currency basket, has now retraced 61.8 percent of its May-June fall.
Traders said month and quarter-end buying further supported the U.S. dollar, which largely shrugged off a surprisingly sharp downgrade to first quarter U.S. economic growth.
The Commerce Department said gross domestic product expanded at a 1.8 percent annual pace in the quarter, compared with a previously reported 2.4 percent pace.
Traders said the data was historical and a recent batch of encouraging reports indicated that the economy was on a gradual recovery path.
The Australian dollar managed to outperform the greenback, partly helped by development in local politics, of all things.
A leadership change in the Labor Party saw Kevin Rudd return as Australian prime minister. Ousted Julia Gillard had struggled to win public support with opinion polls suggesting her minority government was headed for a massive defeat at this year’s general election.
With Rudd back at the helm, the hope is there would be more stability in the Labor Party, although local politics rarely have a lasting impact on markets because the major parties are considered very middle of the road in economic policy.
The Aussie dollar rose to a one-week high of $0.9345 , before relinquishing a bit of ground to last stand at $0.9290, up 0.1 percent on the day.
“While some bounce in the polls and possibly confidence is expected, the political games will be largely a sideshow to deeper issues in the Australian economy. As such we expect no real change to policies or markets for the time being,” said Martin Whetton, analyst at Nomura.
The Aussie also rose smartly on the kiwi after Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s Deputy Governor, Grant Spencer, said raising interest rates to tackle an overheated housing market is not an appropriate response.
It hit a session high of NZ$1.1952, but has since moderated those gains to last stand at NZ$1.1931.
There is little in the way of major economic data in Asia, while Europe has a slew of reports including euro zone economic sentiment, consumer sentiment, German employment and import prices.