(Updates prices, adds more comment)
* Some market talk that BNP's U.S. fine may weigh on euro
* Dollar index languishes near one-month low
* Non-farm payrolls on Thursday key to dollar outlook
* RBA and ECB policy meetings also in focus this week
By Patrick Graham
LONDON, June 30 The euro traded flat against the
dollar on Monday, with market talk in Europe focused on the
implications of a major fine for French bank BNP Paribas
in the absence of other major themes.
Euro zone inflation was in line with expectations at 0.5
percent, reinforcing the need for the European Central Bank to
run very loose monetary policy but well short of a reading that
would demand more action from a monthly meeting on Thursday.
The euro has been creeping higher since mid-June,
retaking some of the ground lost after the bank took steps to
pump yet more money into the economy a month ago.
All of the broader market and economic trends that have
supported the single currency this year remain intact but many
analysts are again pointing towards growing momentum in the U.S.
economy which should eventually support the dollar.
Dealers wonder whether an expected $9 billion fine for BNP
from U.S. authorities could lead to the French bank exchanging
billions of euros for dollars within the next few weeks. Some
players said they had seen no sign BNP had taken steps to hedge
the fine by accumulating dollars, or the right to buy dollars.
Others pointed to the bank's U.S. business, which may help
reduce the volume of euros it must sell, and a generally
sophisticated trading operation which they said should have
acted to save the bank money on the necessary dollar purchases.
"There is a debate going on about the extent to which they
have hedged this deal," said a London-based strategist with one
large European bank.
"They may well have a lot of it already. They do have a U.S.
business, but it does look like a lot of money that might have
at least a temporary impact on the euro."
The other element to the settlement with U.S. authorities,
expected to be announced late on Monday U.S. time, may be bans
on BNP converting foreign currencies to dollars on behalf of
clients for some businesses for as long as a year.
Several currency traders said they believed BNP would still
be able to make other arrangements to clear through
correspondent banks or other units.
Another fine a month ago, for Credit Suisse, moved the
dollar higher against the franc. The euro was unchanged
against the dollar in morning trade in Europe at $1.3653.
The dollar has been in weak form in recent weeks and was
close to a more than one-month low against a basket of major
currencies on Monday. Some backward-looking U.S. data last week
gave investors no reason to expect higher U.S. interest rates
any time soon.
This week, all eyes are on non-farm payrolls figures due a
day earlier than usual, on Thursday, and expected to show the
creation of another 210,000 jobs in the past month.
"If we get a strong print, it will be the fifth time in a
row that we have been over 200K," said Peter Kinsella, a
strategist with Germany's Commerzbank in London.
"It should only be a matter of time before the dollar
finally begins to gain some traction. The euro will probably
trade in a very tight range but it is probably a sell on the
The dollar index was last at 80.019, a touch lower on
the day and not far from levels of 80.014 touched on Friday and
not seen since May 21. Last week's fall was its biggest in more
than two months, and put it on track for a flat half-year.
The yen hit a 5-week low of 101.235 yen in Asian
Masashi Murata, currency strategist at Brown Brothers
Harriman in Tokyo, noted how many investors had been
disappointed by the dollar's performance this year.
"Most people said the U.S. dollar should be stronger than
the yen in the first half of the year based on higher Treasury
yields," he said. "Some people might try to sell the dollar/yen
more (from here)."
(Editing by Louise Ireland)