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Friday August 7, 2009 - 09:19:37 GMT

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FOREX BEWS-Dollar edges lower before U.S. jobs data

Fri Aug 7, 2009 5:10am EDT

* Dollar index down 0.1 pct at 77.942 .DXY

* Investors trim long positions in risky assets

* German exports surge in June

(Adds quotes, updates prices)

By Tamawa Desai

LONDON, Aug 7 (Reuters) - The dollar edged lower against a basket of currencies on Friday as investors awaited U.S. jobs data to gauge the sustainability of a recent risk rally.

Sterling remained under pressure after giving up most of its gains this week when the Bank of England surprised markets by expanding its quantitative easing programme to 175 billion pounds on Thursday.

It also fell after Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Friday it posted losses during the first half of 2009.

The dollar had seen a broad sell-off earlier this week, hitting the year's lows against a number of major currencies, as investors sought riskier assets due to better corporate earnings and improved manufacturing data.

Investors were trimming long positions in risky assets, including stocks and the Aussie, before Friday's key U.S. data, and analysts said the recent dollar-selling may be losing steam.

"There is a sense that the market has become a little exhausted with dollar weakness," said Daragh Maher, deputy head of FX strategy at Calyon. "Any disappointment (in the U.S. payroll figures) could provoke a corrective spike higher in the dollar."

The dollar index .DXY, a gauge of its performance against six major currencies, edged down 0.1 percent from late U.S. trade on Thursday to 77.942, staying above 77.428 which was touched on Wednesday, a lowest point in more than 10 months.

The euro was 0.1 percent higher at $1.4371 EUR= after the European Central Bank kept interest rates at a record low on Thursday. The euro earlier this week rose to a 2009 high of $1.4448 on trading platform EBS.

Reaction was muted to data showing German exports surged in June at their fastest pace in nearly three years, gaining 7.0 percent on the month, far above forecasts of a 1.1 percent increase.

Separate data showed Italy's economy shrank 0.5 percent in the second quarter, a small contraction than expected. Euro zone Q2 gross domestic product data is due out next week.

"I think we should be expecting a euro zone Q2 GDP contraction of around 0.4 percent," said Gilles Moec, economist at Deutsche Bank. The euro zone economy shrank 2.5 percent in the first quarter.

German June industrial output June is due out at 1000 GMT.

Sterling was down 0.2 percent at $1.6732 after falling to $1.6720 GBP=D4. It lost more than 1 percent against the dollar on Thursday, retreating from this year's peak of $1.7044 on Wednesday.


A Reuters survey forecast the U.S. Labor Department report will show 320,000 workers lost their jobs in July, the least for any month since September when employers cut 321,000 jobs.

But the July jobless rate may climb to 9.6 percent -- the highest since June 1983 -- from 9.5 percent in June.

The dollar was down 0.3 percent at 95.10 yen JPY=, after rising to a one-month high of 95.88 yen last week.

The Australian dollar bounced briefly after the Reserve Bank of Australia's upbeat comments on the economy affirmed expectations that a rate rise in Australia will come sooner rather later, before it pared gains.

The Australian dollar was down 0.1 percent at $0.8374 AUD=D4, shedding gains from near a 10-month peak of $0.8471 struck earlier this week. (Editing by David Stamp)

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