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FOREX-Euro slips, Aussie shrugs off China rate cut

* Euro softer in quiet start to the week

* Aussie reverses rally as China rate cut effect quickly fades

* HSBC final China PMI report due next

By Ian Chua

SYDNEY, March 2 (Reuters) – The flagging euro probed fresh one-month lows early on Monday in a subdued start to the week, while an interest rate cut in China over the weekend gave commodity currencies only a fleeting boost.

The euro eased to $ 1.1167, from around $ 1.1198 late on Friday in New York, reaching a trough not seen since Jan. 26. It has since drifted back to $ 1.1187.

Against the yen, it briefly dipped to a one-month low of 133.45, before clambering back to 133.82.

The key focus this week is the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting on Thursday. Investors are keenly waiting for further details on its 1 trillion euro ($ 1.1 trillion) government bond-buying programme, which begins this month.

The ECB may also decide whether to accept Greek government bonds as collateral for its direct funding, which the bank stopped doing at the start of February.

The other major currencies were little changed. The dollar was flat at 119.67 yen, while sterling softened a touch to $ 1.5427.

The Australian dollar flirted with 78 U.S. cents, having reversed an early rally to $ 0.7850 in reaction to the Chinese rate cut.

China lowered interest rates on Saturday, a day before an official survey showed the country’s factory sector contracted for a second straight month in February.

HSBC’s final survey on China’s manufacturing sector for February is due later in the day.

Worries about slowing growth in China, Australia’s biggest trading partner, has been weighing on the Aussie.

However, the market is likely to tread cautiously ahead of Tuesday’s interest rate decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).

Analysts are split on whether the RBA will deliver a follow-up rate cut. Should it stand pat, traders said the Aussie could see a relief rally. A cut could send the Aussie lower.

“Given the higher expectation this month that the RBA could ease, expect the downside reaction will be somewhat more limited, although the immediate support between 0.7740 and 0.7770 should, nevertheless, still be at risk,” analysts at Macquarie Bank wrote in a note to clients.

“Technically, the more important support, and the one we need to break for bearish confirmation that the downtrend is continuing, is at 0.7620/.7640.” ($ 1 = 0.8949 euros) (Editing by Eric Walsh)

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