(Recasts after euro falls)
* Euro struggles after Le Pen launches campaign
* Dollar steadies after blow from wages data
* Aussie slips on weak retail sales data
* Graphic: World FX rates in 2016 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
By Patrick Graham
LONDON, Feb 6 The euro fell around half a
percent on Monday as concerns over French politics ahead of
presidential elections set for April and May drew investors'
focus back to a year of political risks to Europe's established
The dollar was broadly steadier after a poor set of wages
data on Friday quashed speculation of a near-term rise in U.S.
interest rates and sealed the currency's fourth straight weekly
fall, its worst start to a year in three decades.
In a relatively slow start to the week, the Aussie dollar
was the other biggest mover among the G10 group of major
currencies, down almost half a percent after a weaker batch of
retail sales numbers.
The euro ground lower in the European morning to trade as
weak as $1.0734, compared with two month highs above
$1.08 hit last week.
That came as bond market investors swapped French debt for
the perceived safety of Germany and in spite of a
strong batch of German industrial data which added to signs of
an improving euro zone economy.
"I think there was just a load of position adjustment this
morning," said Jane Foley, a strategist with Rabobank in London.
"There has been a lot of talk about the strong data in
Europe but the other backdrop is the politics. A few weeks ago,
the market was convinced (conservative presidential candidate
Francois) Fillon would win and that certainty has evaporated."
A source close to Fillon said he would launch a fightback
later on Monday against the fake-job scandal that has threatened
to engulf his campaign.
Polls show the 62 year-old former prime minister has lost
his status as favourite to win the presidency to centrist
Emmanuel Macron, and that far-right leader Marine Le Pen - the
chief risk for markets - has also gained ground.
PRESSURES ON DOLLAR
Equity markets, and the overall strength of U.S. economic
data, continue to back the bullish dollar calls that dominated
at the end of last year.
But a lack of detail on expected pro-dollar tax and spending
initiatives, combined with concern over the Trump White House's
attitude to the dollar and global trade and security, has kept
the currency retreating.
"I'd like to hope that we naturally go back to buying the
dollar, that seems the logical argument underneath it all," said
Richard Benson, co-head of portfolio management with currency
fund Millennium Global in London.
"At some point, equities in the U.S. should drag yields
higher. The market is really just looking for another story."
Signs of more inflation and better growth in Europe have
helped to cool any further selling of the euro, although against
that there are the worries of populist challenges in a series of
elections this year.
On Sunday Le Pen began her bid to be elected president in
May, promising she alone could protect the French against
Islamist militants and globalisation.
German industrial orders saw the biggest monthly increase in
around 2 1/2 years in December, data on Monday showed.
Speculators trimmed their bullish dollar bets for a fourth
straight week through Jan. 31, with net long positions falling
to their lowest since late October, according to data from the
Commodity Futures Trading Commission released on Friday and
calculations by Reuters.
For Reuters Live Markets blog on European and UK stock
markets see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=http://emea1.apps.cp.extranet.thomsonreuters.biz/cms/?pageId=livemarkets
(Editing by Gareth Jones)