U.S. Markets

Euro dips on ECB bets, election poll knocks kiwi lower

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The euro slipped against the dollar on Thursday after sources told Reuters that a growing number of European Central Bank policymakers were concerned by the strength of the euro and may go slower tightening monetary policy as a result.

The euro has been falling steadily since hitting a more than 2-1/2 year high against the dollar on Tuesday of $1.2069, driven by strong U.S. economic data and concerns that the ECB will have to alter course in response to the euro’s 13 percent rise this year.

Three sources familiar with discussions told Reuters that formal talks over the future of the bank’s stimulus scheme were only beginning, meaning the ECB is highly unlikely to take any decision to start reining it in at a meeting next Thursday.

“I’m skeptical myself that the euro’s strength is a genuine concern that the ECB has, but markets have taken a different attitude,” said Richard Franulovich, senior currency strategist at Westpac Banking Corp in New York.

The euro was last down just 0.1 percent at $1.1866, but was still set to gain 0.3 percent in August and notch its sixth straight monthly rise.

The New Zealand dollar sank to a roughly three-month low against the greenback of $0.7132 NZD=D4 after a poll showed New Zealand's Labor Party will pose a significant threat to the ruling National party at September's election.

The poll result knocked kiwi lower since, as a relatively higher-yielding currency, it tends to be liquidated when traders turn risk-averse on reasons like political uncertainty, said Richard Scalone, co-head of foreign exchange at TJM Brokerage in Chicago.

“The biggest thing in the very short term was this bombshell poll,” Scalone said. “When you get a semblance of political turmoil, yes, it means that the kiwi is more likely to underperform.”

The dollar was last roughly flat against the yen at 110.21 yen JPY=, erasing most of its gains after touching a 15-day high of 110.66 earlier in the session.

Data showing U.S. consumer spending rose slightly less than expected in July and annual inflation increased at its slowest pace since late 2015 trimmed the dollar’s gains.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was last up just 0.1 percent at 92.951. Traders awaited Friday’s U.S. August non-farm payrolls report, which economists polled by Reuters expect will show U.S. employers added 180,000 jobs.

Reporting by Sam Forgione; Additional reporting by Patrick Graham in London; Editing by Alistair Bell