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Thursday November 6, 2014 - 00:45:27 GMT
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FOREX-Euro cowers as ECB looms, USD sweeps higher

5:47pm EST

* Euro near two-year low vs broadly firmer USD

* Aussie falls below 86 US cents, lows not seen since July 2010

* ECB policy review next major focus, Aussie jobs also eyed

By Ian Chua

SYDNEY, Nov 6 (Reuters) - The euro dangled just above a two-year trough on Thursday with investors waiting to see how European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi deals with dissent in the ranks, while the U.S. dollar surged in anticipation of a strong payrolls report.

The euro zone common currency last traded at $1.2483, having fallen nearly a full U.S. cent from Tuesday's high of $1.2577. It was flirting once again with a two-year low of $1.2439 set early in the week.

All eyes are now on the ECB's policy meeting later Thursday which has been given extra significance by reports some members were unhappy with Draghi's aggressive stimulus push.

That comes as disappointing surveys of euro zone business growth only add to pressure for further easing.

"Our base case scenario is that ECB stops short of introducing broad-based QE at this meeting, but that President Draghi sends a clear signal that the Governing Council is committed to expanding the ECB's balance sheet," analysts at BNP Paribas wrote in a note to clients.

"The balance sheet goal will be difficult to achieve unless the ECB broadens the scope of its asset purchase program to sovereign bonds, and our European economists continue to expect a policy move in December."

The soft data out of Europe again contrasted with more upbeat news from the United States, where private employers added 230,000 jobs in October, marking a record seven straight months of job gains exceeding 200,000.

Dollar bulls were also heartened by the outcome of midterm elections that gave Republicans control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 2006, although whether this would lead to any significant policy changes in the near term remained unclear.

Still, it gave investors an excuse to pile back on their favourite trades including buying the dollar and stocks. The S&P 500 index and Dow both closed at record highs.

The dollar index scaled a 4-1/2-year peak of 87.606, before stepping back slightly to 87.431, up 0.5 percent.

Against the yen, the greenback reached a seven-year high of 114.85 yen, bringing into view 115.00. Even the euro climbed to 143.44 yen, a high last seen in April.

Investors remain keen to sell the yen after Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the central bank was ready to do even more to hit its 2 percent price goal and recharge a tottering economy.

Kuroda's comments on Wednesday came after the BOJ last week stunned global financial markets by expanding a massive monetary stimulus programme.

Investors also gave the Australian dollar a wide berth, knocking the currency to levels not seen since July 2010.

The Aussie slumped to a low of $0.8565 after a convincing break of major $0.8640/50 support gave the market a green light to sell further. It last traded at $0.8593.

Local employment data due at 0030 GMT could provide a bit of distraction for the Aussie, but doubts about the accuracy of the figures mean any impact could be short lived.

The government's statistician recently said it was having problems seasonally adjusting the employment data, a blow to the credibility of the agency.

"We're still inclined to treat those figures with a large degree of wariness," said Ray Attrill, global co-head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank.

"Any outsized reaction as a result of those numbers will likely be quickly reversed." (Editing by James Dalgleish)

Thomson Reuters 2014. All rights reserved


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