NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar softened on Wednesday as traders focused on riskier currencies, while the battered euro hit a 19-month low against the Swiss franc amid speculation the European Central Bank will resort to quantitative easing.
Buying of the Australian dollar and other currencies from commodities-centered economies were also helped by the euro’s weakness as investors exiting the common currency took on more risk, a strategist said.
“It is profit-taking, M&A news in Canada, and the New Zealand deal, supporting those currencies,” said Kathy Lien, managing director at New York’s BK Asset Management. “It is nothing more than a correction after a strong move by the dollar.”
After rising steadily, and this week repeatedly setting new 2014 highs, the dollar index was off 0.25 percent of 82.440 in New York trading. The basket of six currencies earlier on Wednesday touched 82.727, a 13-month peak.
The New Zealand dollar rose over 0.6 percent to $0.8374, after giant cooperative Fonterra announced a partnership with a Chinese food manufacturer to sell milk in China. Dairy is New Zealand’s largest export earner.
The U.S. dollar was off nearly 1 percent to 1.084 Canadian dollars in trading after U.S. restaurant group Burger King announced an $11 billion deal for Canada’s Tim Hortons.
The euro, which traded at nearly $1.40 in May, hit a 13-month low against the dollar of $1.3151 earlier on Wednesday, though it recovered later to a session high in New York of $1.32 after a report the ECB appeared unlikely to shift polices next week.
Currency markets this week have been preoccupied with expectations the ECB will loosen its monetary polices, according to Alan Ruskin, global head of foreign exchange strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York.
“Today there is a risk positive (sentiment) and currencies that would benefit from a risk perspective have done so,” Ruskin said.
The euro has been hit in recent weeks by a slew of weak data from the euro zone, where inflation fell to 0.4 percent in July and is expected to have fallen to 0.3 percent in August in data published on Friday. That is far below the ECB’s “danger zone” of 1 percent, let alone its target of just under 2 percent.
ECB chief Mario Draghi fueled speculation that monetary policy would be further loosened in the euro zone over the weekend by saying the central bank would use “all the available instruments” to deal with the threat of deflation at the U.S. Federal Reserve’s annual conference in Jackson Hole.
The euro hit 1.2059 Swiss francs, its lowest since January 2013, and was last off 0.08 percent for the day at 1.207 francs.
Reporting By Michael Connor in New York; Additional reporting by Jemima Kelly in London; Ian Chua in Sydney and Masayuki Kitano in Singapore; Editing by Diane Craft