Euro Near Eight-Month Low as Short Bets Surge Before ECB

The euro traded at almost its lowest level versus the dollar since November as investors held the largest position in two years betting on a drop in the currency before the European Central Bank meets this week.

The pound snapped five days of declines versus the euro before reports this week that economists forecast will show U.K. growth. India’s rupee strengthened as emerging-market currencies gained for the first time in eight days. ECB President Mario Draghi will loosen monetary policies further in fall and the euro could fall below $1.30, Mohamed El-Erian, former chief executive officer of Pacific Investment Management Co. and a Bloomberg View columnist, wrote today.

“Mr. Draghi will likely sound more dovish this week, especially that inflation reports continue to soften in Europe,” Sireen Harajli, a strategist at Mizuho Bank Ltd. in New York, said in e-mail. “Speculators have added to EUR shorts last week, adding to downward pressure on the euro.” A short is a bet an asset will decline in value.

The euro fell to $1.3422 at 5 p.m. New York time after touching $1.3367 on July 30, its lowest level since Nov. 12. It slipped 0.1 percent to 137.66 yen. The dollar dropped less than 0.1 percent to 102.57 yen after rallying 0.8 percent last week, the most since the period through April 18.

Harajli said investors should buy the dollar against the yen, with a target of 105 by the end of the year.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the greenback against 10 major peers, was at 1,020.17, little changed from last week when it added 0.7 percent, the most since Jan. 17. It touched 1,023.42 on Aug. 1, the highest since March 20.

Rupee, Pound

The rupee gained the most among 24 emerging-market currencies tracked by Bloomberg, rising 0.4 percent after disappointing U.S. jobs data Aug. 1 pushed back speculation on when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates. The Indonesian rupiah and Chile’s peso added just under 0.4 percent. The Peruvian new sol and Colombian peso fell the most, 0.4 percent.

A gauge that tracks the performance of 20 emerging-market currencies versus the dollar rose 0.1 percent to 91.5578, the first advance since July 23.

The pound added 0.3 percent to 79.59 pence per euro and 0.3 percent to $1.6863 after Markit Economics said its Purchasing Managers’ Index for the industry was at 62.4 in July, beating the median estimate of 62 in a Bloomberg News survey of economists.

The currency, which has dropped 1.8 percent against the U.S. currency since July 4, stayed below its 100-day moving average as it’s reversing a rally that pushed it to an almost six-year high against the dollar last month, and made it the best performing major currency during the past year.

Dollar Positions

Sterling rose 10 percent in the past 12 months, making it the best performer among 10 developed-nation currencies tracked by Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes. The euro added 0.6 percent, the yen dropped 5.4 percent and the dollar fell 0.8 percent.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index snapped six days of gains on Aug. 1 after employers added fewer jobs than forecast in July, boosting payrolls by 209,000, less than the 230,000 predicted by analysts in a Bloomberg survey. Traders see a 58 percent chance Fed will raise its rate target to at least 0.5 percent by July 2015, down from 65 percent on July 31, based on futures contracts.

ECB Policy

U.S. data tomorrow is forecast by economists to show the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index rose to 56.5 in July from 56 in June, according to a separate survey. Readings greater than 50 signal expansion.

Aggregate net futures positions wagering on gains in the U.S. currency against major peers -- the yen, euro, pound, franc, Mexican peso and the dollars of Australia, Canada and New Zealand -- rose to 13,297 last week, turning positive for the first time since April.

Europe’s common currency slid 3.2 percent in the past three months as the ECB cut interest rates to spur inflation that slowed in July to the weakest in almost five years.

“If investors get the sense that the ECB is indeed loosening monetary policy further, as I believe it will, the euro could easily break through important resistance levels,” El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz SE, wrote in the opinion column. “Indeed, the euro could find itself trading below $1.30 after having flirted with the $1.40 range just three months ago.”

Consumer prices in the 18-nation currency bloc rose 0.4 percent from a year earlier in July compared with a gain of 0.5 percent in June, a July 31 report showed. That was the weakest since October 2009 and below the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists.

Futures traders’ bets that the euro will decline against the dollar rose to the most since August 2012, figures from the Washington-based Commodity Futures Trading Commission show. The difference in the number of wagers by hedge funds and other large speculators on an depreciation in the euro compared with those on a rise -- net shorts -- was 108,075 on July 29, compared with 88,823 a week earlier.