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Thursday July 30, 2009 - 10:39:44 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Euro data, stocks drive dollar retreat from 2-week high

Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:30am EDT

* Euro up 0.3 pct at $1.4075 EUR=

* Euro zone economic sentiment improves in July

* China central bank: to use market tools to manage credit

By Nick Vinocur

LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) - The dollar slipped against the euro on Thursday, losing some ground after a bounce for stock markets and data showing euro zone economic sentiment improved in July, suggesting the bloc's economy was bottoming out.

Economic sentiment in the 16-country zone rose to 76.0 points in July from 73.2 in June, the fourth month of improvement from a trough of 64.6 points in March, official data showed. [ID:nLT1519]

The better-than-expected data signalled the bloc's economy had reached a bottom but was not yet growing. Unemployment in Europe's largest economy Germany, also unexpectedly fell for the first time in nine months in July [ID:nLU456250].

At 0945 GMT, the euro was at $1.4075 EUR=. It had slid to $1.4007 on trading platform EBS on Wednesday, the lowest since July 15, after rising to $1.4305 the day before.

European stocks suggested risk appetite was healthy, with the FTSEurofirst 300 and Britain's FTSE 100 index both gaining by more than 1 percent.

"The Euro was ... buoyed by an increase in optimism in the region," said John Rivera, an analyst with broker Daily FX.

But analysts said that while helping the euro recover, the data were not likely to push the currency much higher.

"The data was pretty much bang in line with expectations and helped the euro tick up against the dollar," said Simon Derrick, head of currency research at Bank of New York Mellon.

"But people are looking for more meaningful signs that the recovery in the second half is sustainable, and the market is gradually swaying toward a more defensive stance."

SHANGHAI RECOVERS

In Asian trade, China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC ended 1.7 percent higher, recapturing some of the previous day's five-percent loss after a senior central banker reiterated loose monetary policies would not be reversed.

"There is a general bid tone to high yielders such as the Australian dollar," said Christian Lawrence, currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets, also pointing to rises in U.S. stock market futures.

"The Chinese stock market is almost acting as a leading indicator for U.S. markets," he added.

The Australian dollar gained 0.75 percent to $0.8230 AUD=.

The dollar index, a gauge of the greenback's performance against six other major currencies, fell 0.46 percent to 79.257 .DXY. It hit a seven-month low of 78.315 on Tuesday.

Market players will keep an eye on the U.S. Treasury's record $28 billion sale of seven-year notes later in the day, following a tepid reception, especially from foreign investors, to auctions of two- and five-year paper earlier in the week.

The euro was up 0.2 percent at 133.72 yen EURJPY=R. The dollar was flat at 95.05 yen after rising near a three-week high of 95.39 yen on Monday.

The New Zealand dollar initially fell after its central bank kept interest rates at a record low of 2.5 percent but left the door open to further cuts while warning that a strong currency was adding to the risks to an economic recovery.[ID:nWEL467297]

The kiwi was last trading flat at $0.6515 NZD=D4.

(Editing by Patrick Graham)

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