FOREX-Euro slides from six-week high as ECB meeting looms

Reuters

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* Aussie gains after RBA sticks with policy message

* Dollar index edges away from seven-week lows

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK, July 1 (Reuters) - The euro slipped from a six-week peak against the dollar on Tuesday, as worries about verbal intervention by the European Central Bank after recent strength in the euro zone common currency tempered buying.

Investors were wary ahead of the ECB's monetary policy meeting on Thursday, concerned the central bank would follow through with specific easing actions after announcing its plan to further stimulate the euro zone economy a few weeks ago.

"If (ECB) President Mario Draghi does open the door further to the prospect of Federal Reserve-style asset purchases or warn about an overvalued euro, the single currency could become vulnerable to renewed selling," said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.

In late trading, the euro was down 0.1 percent against the dollar at $1.3678. It hit a six-week peak of $1.37 earlier in the wake of a dip in a U.S. manufacturing index in June and a smaller-than-expected rise in U.S. construction spending.

A number of analysts have returned to arguing in recent weeks that the dollar is on the verge of a push higher, given the prospect of rises in U.S. interest rates sometime next year. But U.S. data such as Tuesday's has weighed some on the dollar.

In contrast, the euro has recovered all of the ground lost since the ECB announced a new round of monetary easing a month ago. But its rise could provoke statements of concern about its strength.

"The ECB will not take on anything more than a tone of guarded optimism (at Thursday's meeting), as simply not enough time has elapsed to declare victory or elsewise with respect to bringing the region back from the economic edge," said Christopher Vecchio, currency analyst at DailyFX, a unit of New York-based broker FXCM.

The ECB's action last month will push yet more cash into circulation in Europe but growth remains very weak at a time when U.S. jobs data on Thursday may show the nonfarm economy created more than 200,000 jobs for the fifth month running.

AUSSIE BOUNCE

The Australian dollar, meanwhile, rose after a central bank statement was less dovish than some market participants expected and stopped short of explicitly talking down the currency.

The Reserve Bank of Australia kept its cash rate steady at a record low 2.5 percent, as widely expected, after minutes of its last policy meeting in June predicted subpar economic growth.

The Aussie last traded at US$0.9496, up 0.7 percent after hitting US$0.9505, its highest since early November.

Against the yen, the dollar was up 0.2 percent at 101.53 yen, still not far from Monday's six-week low of 101.23 yen.

(Editing by Tom Brown)

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