Euro slips as Draghi notes slowing growth

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The euro weakened against the greenback on Monday, giving up earlier gains, after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi acknowledged slowing growth in the region.

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The euro zone has lost some growth momentum but this was mostly normal and not enough to derail plans by the bank to dial back stimulus further, Draghi and two of his top lieutenants said on Monday.

The comments came after data showed that German business morale fell by more than expected in November. Munich-based Ifo said sentiment worsened for the third month in a row.

“Weaker-than-forecast Ifo business sentiment data, in addition to Draghi’s acknowledgement of a recent softening in euro zone data unnerved euro traders, sending the euro lower,” said Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index.

The euro had gained earlier on Monday on signs that Italy may cut its budget deficit target to satisfy the European Union.

Italy’s governing coalition may reduce next year’s budget deficit target to as low as 2 percent of gross domestic product to avoid disciplinary action from Brussels, two government sources said on Monday.

Sterling was also little changed against the greenback, after rallying on a deal for Britain to leave the European Union.

Under the deal secured with EU leaders on Sunday, Britain will leave the bloc in March with continued close trade ties, but the odds now look stacked against it being approved by a divided British parliament.

Investors are focussed this week on a speech on Wednesday by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and minutes from the Fed’s Nov. 7-8 meeting to be released on Thursday, for further indications of how many more times the U.S. central bank is likely to hike interest rates.

Slowing global growth has raised expectations the Fed may halt its tightening cycle sooner than previously expected.

“It seems like there are tentative signs from the Fed that they see caution on the rise, so if the Fed minutes and Mr Powell both play up an increase in caution, I think that would tend to suggest the Fed may opt for a slower pace of rate hikes going forward,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.

Trade tensions between the United States and China are also at the forefront with U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping due to meet at a G20 meeting in Buenos Aires on Nov. 30 to discuss contentious trade matters.


Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and James Dalgleish