SYDNEY The euro traded near one-week highs against the dollar and yen early in Asia on Thursday as investors quickly switched gears after upbeat German data dampened the chances of any imminent interest rate cut from the European Central Bank.
Expectations had been growing for the ECB to ease since data last week showed an alarming slowdown in inflation. But a surge in German industry orders in September and steady private sector growth in Europe's largest economy in October, cast doubts on whether the ECB would act so soon.
"The recent data enables them to wait till December and announce the rate cut as part of their broader inflation/growth forecasting exercise," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note to clients.
As a result, the euro bounced to a high of $1.3548, pulling away from a near two-month trough of $1.3442 set on Monday. Against the yen, the common currency climbed as high as 133.72 yen, off a near one-month low of 132.36 plumbed Tuesday. It was last at $1.3513 and 133.32 yen, respectively.
The ECB meets later on Thursday and is expected to resist pressure to cut interest rates, a Reuters poll of 23 traders showed.
But David Song, currency strategist at DailyFX, said there seemed to be growing concerns among European officials that the persistent strength of the single currency was becoming a greater drag on the recovery.
"We may see ECB President Mario Draghi implement his own style of verbal intervention as the outlook for growth and inflation remains subdued," he warned euro bulls.
The livelier euro helped knock the dollar index to its lowest level this week. It last stood at 80.508, having fallen as far as 80.380.
But the greenback held its ground against the yen at 98.63, still within reach of a two-week peak of 98.86 set Friday.
Among the major currencies, the yen was the weakest performer thanks to an improved appetite for risk, which saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average close at a record high.
That saw the Australian dollar hit a two-week high of 94.17 yen. On the greenback, the Aussie held just above 95 U.S. cents.
Its near-term direction depends on domestic jobs data due at 0030 GMT. Any upside surprise should shore up the currency. Analysts polled by Reuters generally expect the economy to have generated 10,000 jobs in October.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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