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Euro Declines Touches Lowest in 11-year ahead of ECB meeting

Euro Currency decline touches the new low in more than 11 years even as the Dollar index sets fresh 11-year high. The sliding of the euro to its lowest level in more than 11 years against the dollar on Thursday, as investors waited for the European Central Bank to announce more details of its massive bond-buying programme.

The common currency fell to as low as $1.1026 as of 0653 GMT, its lowest level since September 2003. It last traded at $1.1039, down 0.4 percent on the day.

Euro at 11 year low

The euro’s drop gained momentum late in the Asian session. Traders said the euro’s fall picked up steam after it breached an option barrier at $1.1050, with stop-loss offers adding to its drop.

The ECB, which starts its quantitative easing (QE), or bond-buying, programme worth more than 1 trillion euros this month, is expected to detail the plan later in the day following its policy meeting.

The QE scheme’s details might not trigger much reaction in the euro, since the launch of the programme has already been priced in, said Jesper Bargmann, head of trading for Nordea Bank in Singapore.

Still, the divergence in the outlook for monetary policies in the United States and the euro zone is likely to keep the euro under pressure versus the dollar, he said.

“I think the dollar may keep strengthening as we wait for the first rate hike in the U.S…. The trend is in place,” Bargmann said.

Markets will be looking for how the ECB’s quantitative easing will work, when the buying will start, whether it applies to paper with negative yields and how the purchases will be distributed along the yield curve.

“I don’t think we will see any big surprises… We think that we could see the beginning of these asset purchases as early as next week,” said Mitul Kotecha, head of FX strategy, Asia-Pacific for Barclays in Singapore.

Investors have already driven yields across Europe to record lows in anticipation of the ECB’s largesse, greatly widening the yield advantage of the U.S. dollar in the process.

While there is much uncertainty over when the U.S. Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates, some analysts expect it to drop the word “patient” in its forward guidance at its policy meeting on March 17-18, paving the way for a possible policy tightening in June.

The dollar hit a fresh 11-year high against a basket of major currencies. The dollar index rose to as high as 96.286 , its strongest level since September 2003.

Against the yen, the dollar rose 0.1 percent to 119.83 yen , still within its range so far this week of 119.38 yen to 120.27 yen.

Japan’s weekly capital flows data released on Thursday showed that foreign investors bought a net 624.5 billion yen in overseas equities in the week ended Feb. 28.

That is the second largest amount of weekly net purchases of foreign shares by Japanese investors, based on Japanese Finance Ministry data going back to 2005, and also marks the 15th straight week of net purchases.

“When you combine these capital outflows with relatively higher U.S. yields, it does suggest dollar/yen remains fairly well supported,” said Barclays’ Kotecha.

The Australian dollar enjoyed a brief lift after Philip Lowe, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), said the Australian dollar was much closer to fair value than at any time in the past couple of years.

The comment was taken as a softening in the RBA’s long-standing verbal campaign for a lower currency and drove the Australian dollar to as high as $0.7840.

The Aussie later pared its gains and was last down about 0.1 percent at $0.7813.

About Rachell M.

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