* Euro off 2-wk low, ECB offers few hints on more easing
* Dollar may dip vs yen and euro if US jobs disappoint
* Euro may take French, Greek elections in stride -analyst
By Masayuki Kitano
SINGAPORE, May 4 The dollar held steady versus
the yen and euro on Friday, but could face downside risks if
U.S. jobs data disappoints and stirs renewed speculation about
further monetary easing from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The euro was little changed at $1.3156, having
bounced off the previous day's two-week low after European
Central Bank chief Mario Draghi on Thursday gave no strong hints
about the possibility of more monetary stimulus.
After the ECB kept rates steady at 1 percent as expected and
an uneventful Spanish bond auction on Thursday, focus now shifts
to U.S. jobs data later on Friday as well as elections in France
and Greece on Sunday.
The U.S. payrolls report is expected to show a gain of
170,000 in April, according to a Reuters poll of economists.
A disappointing result is seen likely to put the dollar
"We've gone back to that situation where when the weaker
data comes out, we start to price in more chance of QE3 and
therefore the dollar goes weaker," said Rob Ryan, FX strategist
at BNP Paribas in Singapore, referring to the possibility of the
Fed launching another bond-buying programme.
The dollar held steady versus the yen at 80.17 yen,
staying above a 10-week low of 79.64 yen hit on Tuesday on
trading platform EBS.
Yen-related flows are likely to be thinner than usual with
Japanese markets closed on Friday for a public holiday.
Traders say market positioning bodes ill for the dollar
against the yen since currency speculators are still thought to
be holding hefty short positions in the yen, suggesting the yen
could surge against the dollar if such bets are unwound.
Data released last week showed that currency speculators
held a net short position in the yen of 55,903 contracts in the
week ended April 24. That is not far from 67,622 contracts
logged in late March, which was the biggest in almost five
Some traders say the dollar could drop towards 77 yen to 78
yen in the near term if U.S. jobs data comes in weak.
Besides the U.S. jobs data, the euro faces additional event
risk from elections in France and Greece on Sunday, the results
of which could stir worries about the countries' commitment to
Francois Hollande, front-runner and first-round winner in
the French presidential race, has promised to shift the debate
in Europe towards promoting growth if he is elected.
In Greece, surveys showed no clear winner emerging from the
elections, with the two main parties garnering barely enough
seats for a parliamentary majority.
Either the two main parties will secure just enough to work
together, or steps will have to be taken to form a broad
coalition with minor parties firmly opposed to the European
Union's austerity measures.
Not all are convinced that the election results will pose an
immediate downside risk to the euro, however.
"Most people at this stage know that there is going to be
some turmoil out of Greece to some extent," said BNP Paribas'