By Radu-Sorin Marinas
BUCHAREST, June 19 (Reuters) - Central European currencies eased marginally on Wednesday in cautious trade ahead of the outcome of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting, with little impact from ECB chief Mario Draghi's unexpectedly strong hints about more stimulus.
The Fed, which concludes its latest policy meeting on Wednesday, is expected to leave interest rates on hold but flag whether it plans to cut rates later this year.
Traders say a lower path for U.S. interest rates and a weaker dollar would be generally positive for currencies in the European Union's emerging east.
"Emerging market currency traders patiently await the outcome of the US Fed's meeting later today. Indeed, US rates as well as the euro/dollar exchange rate are key systemic drivers for asset prices," analysts at Raiffeisen said.
If Fed comments confirm to investors that they have been too optimistic about the timing of U.S. rate cuts, the dollar may strengthen and U.S. bond yields rebound, potentially causing a weakening of Central European currencies and bonds.
A more hawkish than expected US stance, however, can lead to a significant sell-off in emerging currencies, said Raiffeisen.
ECB policymakers were divided on Tuesday after Draghi hinted at new stimulus measures that had yet to be discussed by the ECB's Governing Council.
Draghi told an ECB conference the central bank would ease policy again if inflation fails to accelerate, saying that fresh bond purchases, rate cuts or changes to the ECB's policy guidance had all been "raised and discussed" at a meeting of the ECB Governing Council less than two weeks ago.
The forint EURHUF= traded 0.17% down on the day by 0910 GMT, followed by the Polish zloty EURPLN= and Czech crown EURCZK= with 0.15% and 0.14% drops respectively. The Romanian leu EURRON= was flat at 4.7260 to the euro.
Czechs auction a euro-denominated domestic bond, with Komercni Banka trader Dalimil Vyskovsky saying that "with the Draghi message yesterday we expect demand to be strongish again despite the paper being issued under domestic law and thus limiting the range of investors that can subscribe."
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(Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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