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Euro falls on report Italy will cut growth forecast

London

THE euro fell to a session low on Thursday after a report that Italy will slash its growth forecasts prompted fears about a broader economic slump.

Political wrangling over the finances of heavily indebted Italy has seen the euro weaken versus the dollar.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Rome will this month likely cut its 2019 growth estimate to 0.3 per cent or 0.4 per cent.

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The news was circulating for almost a day before the markets appeared to react to a Bloomberg report that said the government is preparing to cut its GDP forecast to 0.1 per cent from 1 per cent previously.

"The euro stabilised soon after the Italy news triggered an initial move lower ... that suggests that the negative sentiment towards the eurozone may be priced in and that the single currency may have carved out a near-term bottom against the US dollar," said Fawad Razaqzada, a market analyst at Forex.com.

The euro was also pressured on Thursday by more signs of weakness in the German economy.

The euro has remained in a range of US$1.12-US$1.16 in 2019 despite a slowdown in the euro zone economy prompting new stimulus from the European Central Bank.

The euro was trading at US$1.122, flat on the day.

It has fallen in six of the previous eight sessions.

Investors were focused on minutes from the ECB's March meeting - especially for details on the ECB's plans to issue new cheap loans to banks and a debate about tiering interest rates.

Hopes of a softer British exit from the European Union have weakened the appeal of defensive assets. The safe-haven yen touched a two-week low of 111.575 yen against the dollar late on Wednesday.

The lower house of the British parliament on Wednesday approved legislation that would force Prime Minister Theresa May to seek a Brexit delay to prevent a departure on April 12 without a deal.

The pound last stood at US$1.3160, up 0.2 per cent on the day.

Positive risk sentiment this week has helped boost the commodity-linked Australian and New Zealand dollars. REUTERS