* Major currencies in holding pattern as post-jobs lull sets
* Dollar index holds below 10-1/2 month peak
* Aussie pares loss after dipping on China HSBC services PMI
* RBA keeps interest rates unchanged as expected
(Updates prices, adds comments)
By Ian Chua and Masayuki Kitano
SYDNEY/SINGAPORE, Aug 5 The dollar was stuck
below a 10-1/2 month peak against a basket of currencies on
Tuesday, taking a breather after U.S. jobs data last week
dampened speculation of an earlier-than-expected interest rate
rise by the Federal Reserve.
The dollar index held steady at 81.299, staying below
a high of 81.573 touched last Thursday, its highest level since
mid-September of last year.
Dollar bulls have cooled their heels after data on Friday
showed that U.S. jobs growth slowed a bit in July and
unemployment rose, pointing to slack in the labour market that
could give the Fed room to keep interest rates low for a while.
The euro held steady near $1.3425, staying just above
an eight-month low of $1.3366 plumbed last week.
The single currency could be supported in the near term,
given the potential for some short-covering, said a trader at a
Japanese bank in Singapore.
"The euro tends to move the opposite way when everyone is
looking in the same direction," the trader said.
According to data from a U.S. financial watchdog, currency
speculators recently increased their bearish bets against the
euro to the largest level in about two years.
The dollar eased 0.1 percent versus the yen to 102.49
, inching away from a near 4-month high of 103.15 yen set
"We remain constructive on the U.S. dollar, and continue to
run long USD/JPY and short EUR/USD trades in our recommendations
portfolio," analysts at BNP Paribas wrote in a note to clients.
The dollar's moves versus the euro and the yen were subdued
ahead of monetary policy decisions by the European Central Bank
and the Bank of Japan later in the week.
The Australian dollar showed limited reaction after
Australia's central bank kept its cash rate at a record low of
2.5 percent on Tuesday as widely expected and flagged a further
period of inaction ahead.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Aussie dollar had sagged slightly
after a private sector survey showed that growth in China's
services sector slowed sharply in July to its lowest level in
nearly nine years.
Still, the Aussie's reaction to the survey was mild, and it
later pared its losses after the Reserve Bank of Australia
stopped short of actively calling for a lower currency.
"I don't think you can say that the Australian dollar will
keep weakening based on this number alone," said Teppei Ino,
analyst for the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in Singapore.
Investors will probably reserve judgment on China's economic
outlook for now, with the focus on a batch of official Chinese
indicators coming up this week and next including trade data and
industrial output, Ino said.
The Australian dollar inched up 0.1 percent to $0.9342
, staying above a two-month low of $0.9275 set on
Friday. The Aussie is sensitive to economic data from China,
Australia's biggest export market.
Market positioning is helping lend support to the Aussie,
said Jeffrey Halley, FX trader for Saxo Capital Markets in
"The street is short from last week and there are some tired
positions out there," Halley said.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)