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Thursday September 3, 2009 - 10:10:51 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Euro edges up ahead of ECB; yen falters

Thu Sep 3, 2009 6:05am EDT

* Euro up 0.2 pct at $1.4290 EUR=; up 0.4 pct vs yen

* Yen retreats from 7-wk high vs dollar

* ECB seen standing pat on rates; focus on Trichet

(Adds comment, details, updates prices)

By Naomi Tajitsu

LONDON, Sept 3 (Reuters) - The euro edged higher against the dollar and yen on Thursday ahead of a European Central Bank policy meeting where policymakers are seen leaving interest rates unchanged while upgrading their economic forecasts.

The yen retreated from a seven-week high against the dollar as European shares edged up, taking a cue from a rally in Chinese shares, which prompted investors to trim holdings of the low-risk Japanese currency.

The ECB is expected to announce it will keep rates at a record low 1.0 percent at 1145 GMT. ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet will to speak to reporters at 1230 GMT, and is expected to acknowledge improvements in the economy but still retain a cautious stance.

Analysts said expectations the central bank may offer a rosier view about the economy were helping support the euro.

"There's no doubt that the forecast is going to be revised higher, it's just a matter of how much," said Stephen Koukoulas, global strategist at TD Securities in London.

"A confirmation of this will be something that the market will take with a degree of optimism, which could result in a mildly bullish tone for the euro."

The euro brushed off a strong reading of the euro zone services Purchasing Managers' Index, which showed a final reading of 49.9 in August from a flash estimate of 49.5. [ID:nLAG003715]

At 0947 GMT, the euro was up 0.2 percent at $1.4290 EUR=. Against the yen it was up 0.4 percent at 132.11 yen EURJPY=R.

The euro was supported by a 0.2 percent rise in European shares . They tracked a near 5 percent climb in Shanghai shares .SSEC earlier on Thursday, stoking some risk demand.

The dollar fell as low as 91.94 yen JPY= on trading platform EBS on Thursday, its lowest since July 13, as investors continued to cut dollar holdings after a weaker-than-expected U.S. private-sector jobs report on Wednesday.

The U.S. currency later edged up, last trading at 92.41 yen, up 0.2 percent from late U.S. trade on Wednesday.

Traders offered limited reaction to comments from Hirohisa Fujii, a top adviser to Japan's newly elected ruling party who told Reuters a strong yen was good for Japan, and that officials must not intervene in currency markets unless they are moving abnormally. [ID:nTKF106577]

The high-yielding Australian dollar AUD=D4 rose 0.6 percent to $0.8380, supported by gains in gold prices XAU=.

Sterling gained broadly, hitting a one-week high against the euro of 87.35 pence on the back of a strong reading of UK services PMI. [ID:nL3426737]


Dealers took their cue from stocks but markets were becoming somewhat wary of taking on too much risk as policymakers have indicated a cautious stance on the economic outlook.

Big positions were also being avoided ahead of key U.S. jobs report on Friday.

"The market is becoming more cautious toward risk assets, positioning for a potential downward correction," said Lee Hardman, currency economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, noting September was generally an unfavourable month for stocks.

Sweden's central bank left its key interest rate at a record low of 0.25 percent as widely expected, and said it is expected to remain low over the coming year. [nL3361145]

The euro rose to a session high of 10.3480 crowns EURSEK=D4 in the aftermath of the decision and statement, climbing from around 10.29 crowns beforehand. (Additional reporting by Tamawa Kadoya, editing by Chris Pizzey)

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