3 Min Read
* Dollar index steady
* Traders shrug off soft U.S. consumer spending data
* Russia's rouble at all-time low vs dollar (Adds New York open, latest prices, quotes; changes byline and dateline; previous LONDON)
By Michael Connor
NEW YORK, Aug 29 (Reuters) - The dollar changed little on Friday, with traders shrugging off data signaling soft U.S. consumer spending, while the steadily sliding euro won a reprieve on diminished expectations that the European Central Bank would ease monetary policy as early as next week.
Russia's rouble hit an all-time low against the dollar as worries grew that the Ukraine crisis may bring more Western economic sanctions.
After repeatedly setting 2014 peaks this week, the dollar index traded tightly on Friday and was up 0.05 percent at 82.521 after turning down briefly when U.S. government data showed Americans' personal spending shrunk 0.1 percent in July.
The report, which economists had expected to show a rise of 0.2 percent, prompted expectations that U.S. gross domestic product may grow less during the current third quarter than now forecast.
"The disappointing spending print left the three-month annualized pace of real spending activity softer at 1.3 percent from 2.5 percent last month, suggesting that market forecasts for Q3 GDP are likely to be nudged lower despite a solid handoff from the 4.2 percent growth rate in Q2," said Gennadiy Goldberg, U.S. strategist at TD Securities in New York.
But traders still see promise in the U.S. economy despite the disappointing data about spending that accounts for 70 percent of American GDP, according to Boris Schlossberg, managing director at BK Asset Management in New York.
"The market does not think it is a straw that breaks the camel's back," Schlossberg said. "The U.S. economy remains the most robust among the G7 (countries) ... The market thinks the consumer will catch up."
The dollar was up 0.25 percent against the Japanese yen , which has risen this week on safe-haven buying triggered by the Ukraine crisis. The dollar last traded at 103.98 yen.
The euro was last trading off a touch at $1.3178, having risen to a day high of $1.3195 soon after a report on euro zone inflation, and above the one-year low of 1.31525 hit on Wednesday.
Nevertheless, it was on track for a second straight month of losses as euro zone annual inflation has fallen to a five-year low of 0.3 percent - well below the ECB's danger zone of 1.0 percent. This is likely to keep alive expectations of more dovish comments from ECB chief Mario Draghi when he speaks after a policy rate decision on Sept. 4.
The single currency has lost 1.6 percent in the past two weeks, partly due to the conflict in Ukraine, which is likely to weigh on growth in the euro zone.
In New York, the rouble dropped to 37.03 against the dollar before recovering slightly to trade at 36.98, leaving it still down 0.7 percent on the day. (Editing by Jonathan Oatis)