The euro drifted lower against its major counterparts in the European session on Thursday amid risk aversion, as tensions escalated between the U.S. and China over the South China.

While the United States blacklisted 24 Chinese firms and targeted individuals it said were part of construction and military actions in the South China Sea, Beijing fired four missiles into the world's most hotly contested body of water, further ratcheting up tensions between the two countries.

Traders also waited for Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's speech at the annual central bankers' conference later in the day for clues about whether a shift to easier policy is possible in coming months.

Analysts expect that Powell will outline dovish measures including a move toward average inflation targeting in which inflation above the central bank's usual 2 percent target would be tolerated and even desired.

The euro weakened to 1.1810 against the greenback from a 3-day high of 1.1850 seen at 9:00 pm ET. On the downside, support is seen near the 1.15 level.

The euro declined to a 6-day low of 0.8944 against the pound and a 2-day low of 125.18 against the yen, after rising to 0.8965 and 125.62, respectively in early deals. The euro is likely to face support around 0.86 against the pound and 120.00 against the yen, if it falls again.

The EUR/CHF pair hit 1.0730, its weakest level since July 27. Next key support for the euro is likely seen around the 1.05 level.

The euro slipped to a 5-week low of 1.6290 against the aussie and more than a 2-week low of 1.7805 versus the kiwi, off its early highs of 1.6363 and 1.7885, respectively. The euro is poised to challenge support around 1.59 against the aussie and 1.70 versus the kiwi.

After an early gain to 1.5582 against the loonie, the euro turned lower and was trading at 1.5527. Immediate support for the euro may be found around the 1.52 level.

Looking ahead, U.S. GDP data for second quarter, weekly jobless claims for the week ended August 22 and pending home sales for July will be featured in the New York session.

At 9:10 am ET, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will deliver a speech titled "Monetary Policy Framework Review" at the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium, via satellite.

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