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May 27, 2017

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Euro hovers around eight-month low in Asia awaiting ECB report

TOKYO--The euro was hovering near an eight-month low against the dollar in Asia on Wednesday on speculation that the European Central Bank (ECB) would hint at further stimulus after a policy meeting.

The euro bought US$1.3367 and 137.08 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade against US$1.3369 and 137.20 yen in New York late Tuesday.

The dollar was changing hands at 102.59 yen in Tokyo trade compared with 102.62 yen in New York trade Tuesday.

The dollar was higher against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It rose to 32.17 Thai baht from 32.11 baht on Tuesday, to SG$1.2485 from SG$1.2454, to 1,034.55 South Korean won from 1,031.75 won and to 11,760.00 Indonesian rupiah from 11,727.50 rupiah.

The dollar also climbed to 61.35 Indian rupees from 60.91 rupees and to 43.74 Philippine pesos from 43.54 pesos.

The Australian dollar eased to 93.03 U.S. cents from 93.24 cents, while the Chinese yuan was unchanged at 16.60 yen.

The common European currency hit US$1.3358 in U.S. trade earlier Tuesday, its lowest level against the dollar since Nov. 11, 2013, before recovering somewhat.

While the ECB is not expected to change interest rate policy at a meeting on Thursday, traders say the central bank could suggest it will enact further stimulus in light of weak economic growth in the region.

National Australia Bank noted European retail sales and other data released Tuesday were weak.

"Coupled with a rise in Russian troops lining the Ukraine border and raising speculation of an imminent flare-up in tensions, this has allowed the euro to underperform," it said in a note.

On the other hand, the dollar picked up support from better-than-expected U.S. economic data that analysts say could accelerate the Federal Reserve's plans to lift its benchmark interest rate.

"U.S. rate rises are coming; that's the message from equities and the U.S. dollar overnight," the Australian bank said after New York sessions Tuesday that saw lower stock prices and a higher dollar.

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