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Thursday June 4, 2009 - 20:52:05 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Euro rises on ECB rate view; US jobs data loom

Thu Jun 4, 2009 4:28pm EDT

* ECB rates seen remaining at 1.0 percent for some time

* BoE, BoC leave rates steady

* Focus on U.S. non-farm payrolls report (Recasts, updates prices, adds comment)

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK, June 4 (Reuters) - The euro edged higher against the U.S. dollar on Thursday as the European Central Bank signaled it will keep interest rates steady for some time, reinforcing the market's belief that the global recession was easing.

Actions by the Bank of England and Bank of Canada, which kept interest rates unchanged, also affirmed the view that economic recovery was in view, analysts said, undermining the yen. The Japanese currency, which tends to fall when economic optimism rises, weakened broadly, posting sharp losses against the dollar and euro.

"The tone of the markets is changing as investors are bracing for a recovery," said Kathy Lien, director of FX strategy, at GFT in New York.

"Central banks from around world now expect positive growth in 2010 and despite the concern about the safety of the U.S. dollar, equities are trading at (multi-month) highs."

In late afternoon trading, the euro was last up 0.2 percent against the dollar at $1.4180 <EUR=EBS>, according to electronic trading platform EBS, having swung between a peak of $1.4242 and a low $1.4070.

The euro rose across the board on what markets believed to be euro-bullish comments by Trichet.

Despite the European central bank's expectations for a much sharper recession in the euro zone this year than previous forecasts, Trichet said the ECB's current interest rates are appropriate for now.

"The ECB's reluctance to ease policy further opens the way for further euro strengthening," said Marco Annunziata, chief economist at Unicredit Group in London.

The ECB also reiterated plans to buy 60 billion euros in covered bonds, spread across the euro zone, in both primary and secondary markets, moves that analysts said seemed to bolster expectations that the bank won't cut interest rates anymore.

The euro posted sharp gains versus the yen, up 1.0 percent at 137.08 <EURJPY=EBS>, and climbed 0.9 percent against sterling to 87.55 pence <EURGBP=D4>.

STRONG DOLLAR

A comment by Trichet at the news conference after the bank's policy meeting, that it was important Washington had expressed support for a strong dollar, briefly trimmed losses in the greenback. But that did not change sentiment on the dollar overall.

Commodity-linked currencies such as the Canadian and Australian dollars, meanwhile, benefited from the rise in oil and gold prices. Higher oil prices also boosted energy shares, lifting the U.S. stock market and boosting risk sentiment in the market.

The British pound was lower against the U.S. dollar as the Bank of England also left its benchmark rate unchanged at 0.5 percent. It last traded down 0.6 percent at $1.6194<EURGBP=>.

The focus shifted to politics as the pound fell sharply on speculation British Prime Minister Gordon Brown would resign, which was quickly dismissed by his office as "absolute nonsense."

The Canadian dollar, meanwhile, initially dropped against the U.S. currency after the Bank of Canada kept rates unchanged, as expected. By late afternoon trading, however, the U.S. dollar fell 1.5 percent to C$1.0963 <CAD=D4>.

With central bank decisions out of the way, markets are now focused on the U.S. non-farm payrolls report for May. A Reuters poll showed markets are expecting U.S. job losses of 520,000.

Dan Cook, a market analyst at IG Markets in Chicago after the ADP private sector jobs report came out weaker than expected, many are concerned that expectations that the economic slump was easing "may have been way off target."

"If the (jobs) number comes out worse than expected I will look for strength in the dollar versus sterling and euro...as traders move to a risk averse stance."

(Additional reporting by Nick Olivari)

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