Dollar nurses losses, Aussie eyes job data

SYDNEY Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:41am IST

1 of 3. One hundred dollar notes are seen in this photo illustration at a bank in Seoul January 9, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Lee Jae-Won

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar wallowed at a near four-month low against a basket of major currencies early in Asia on Thursday as investors cut bullish positions amid uncertainty over whether the Federal Reserve will pare back its stimulus program.

The dollar index was at 80.936 .DXY, having fallen as deep as 80.748, a low not seen since February 20. It has now lost around 4 percent from a near three-year high of 84.498 set on May 25.

"The USD largely remains on the defensive in the G10. While the DXY has broken below its 200-day moving average for the first time since February, we do expect the USD to eventually find a near-term base against JPY, EUR and GBP," analysts at BNP Paribas wrote in a client note.

"In our view, G10 moves have been largely driven by the adjustment in overextended long USD positions rather than a changing perception of the U.S. growth or Fed policy outlook."

Weakness in the dollar saw the euro climb to a near four-month high around $1.3359. The common currency was last at $1.3339, little changed from late New York levels.

Against the yen, the greenback slipped 0.1 percent to 95.94, struggling to pull away from an overnight low of 95.13. Good support is seen around 95.00 and the June 7 low of 94.975.

The euro was little changed at 127.98 yen, having swung between 126.00 and 132.00 in the last few sessions.

Perhaps explaining the resilience of the euro, a Reuters poll this week showed a vast majority of more than 60 economists do not expect the European Central Bank to cut interest rates.

The survey also suggested the euro zone economy will return to modest growth in the second half of this year.

Commodity currencies also rose against the dollar with the Australian dollar briefly popping above $0.9500, pulling away from a 33-month trough of $0.9325 plumbed on Tuesday. The Aussie has since moderated its overnight gains to trade at $0.9465.

The near-term focus for the Aussie is the May labor force report due at 0130 GMT. Analysts polled by Reuters expect the economy to have shed 10,000 jobs and the unemployment rate to edge up to 5.6 percent from 5.5 percent.

Any disappointment in the closely watched numbers will no doubt give Aussie-dollar bears fresh incentive to knock the currency lower.

The New Zealand dollar was also better bid at $0.7953, having rebounded from a one-year low of $0.7761 set earlier in the week.

It lost a bit of steam after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) said it expects to hold interest rates steady at a record low for the rest of the year.

RBNZ Governor, Graeme Wheeler, also said the central bank is prepared to intervene should the kiwi dollar strengthen further.

"As other markets open, the NZD could underperform on the crosses as there were a few net long positions heading into this report," said Annette Beacher, head of Asia-Pacific Research at TDSecurities.

"Nevertheless, we believe there is plenty to be hawkish about and we maintain our year-end target of $0.8300."

(Editing by Wayne Cole)

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