Euro, Aussie wilt on little progress at EU summit

SYDNEY Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:41am IST

The map of Europe is featured on the face of a one Euro coin seen in this photo illustration taken in Paris, January 31, 2012. REUTERS/Mal Langsdon

The map of Europe is featured on the face of a one Euro coin seen in this photo illustration taken in Paris, January 31, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mal Langsdon

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The euro hobbled along three-week lows in Asia on Friday as investors awaited more news from a summit of European leaders amid already diminished expectations that it will yield any concrete measures to tackle the debt crisis immediately.

The single currency traded at $1.2439, having reached $1.2407 overnight -- its lowest since June 4. Against the yen, the euro also plumbed a three-week low around 98.34, before recovering a bit of ground to 98.75.

High-beta currencies like the Australian dollar, which enjoyed a surprise short-covering rally on Thursday, also relinquished most of their gains. The Aussie was at $1.0029, down about a full U.S. cent from Thursday's high.

Not surprisingly, the safe-haven U.S. dollar and yen outperformed. The dollar index .DXY touched a three-week high at 82.879 and was last at 82.738. The greenback slipped to a 1-1/2 week low against the yen at 79.220.

Markets were left with little to be cheerful about at the end of the first day of a two-day EU summit.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy announced a deal in principle on measures to stimulate infrastructure investment and give more capital to the EU's soft-lending arm, the European Investment Bank.

Behind the scenes though, officials said Italy and Spain had refused to sign off on a 120 billion euro ($149 billion) growth package until EU paymaster Germany approved short-term measures to ease their cost of credit.

But Germany does not want to use its strong credit rating to support weaker members unless they share control of tax and spending powers first. Still, there are some hopes that Germany will eventually soften its stance.

"The main focus will be on the progress of financial integration and the ESM (bailout funds)," analysts at BNP Paribas wrote in a client note.

"We continue to position for a weaker USD following the EU Summit. The market remains very long, USD which means that the USD is vulnerable to selling off on the back of any slightly positive news from the EU Summit."

After the summit, markets will have to contend with the latest reading on China's manufacturing sector. Due on Sunday, the official survey of China's factories is likely to show activity fell to seven-month lows in June.

Such an outcome would compound market concerns that the world's second-largest economy is stuck in a deeper and longer downturn than previously expected, a negative for risk sentiment.

Markets will also be bracing for a slew of U.S. data in a holiday-shortened week ahead, culminating in the closely watched non-farm payrolls data on Friday.

The latest jobless benefits claims report indicated the U.S. job market was still struggling to gain traction. It came as government data confirmed the U.S. economy grew only modestly in the first quarter.

(Editing by Wayne Cole)

Politics

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Fund Raising

Fund Raising

Flipkart raises $700 million in fresh funding.   Full Article 

Reforms Push

Reforms Push

Modi may order insurance, coal reforms if vote delayed - officials.  Full Article 

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

India looks to sway Americans with nuclear power insurance plan  Full Article 

To Boost Growth

To Boost Growth

Crank up public spending to revive growth - chief economic adviser.   Full Article 

Bold Steps

Bold Steps

SpiceJet rescue plan marks bold bet on Indian aviation recovery.   Full Article 

New Airline

New Airline

Tata, Singapore Air venture Vistara to take off on Jan 9.  Full Article 

Online Sales

Online Sales

Knock knock. Who's there? Amazon's best-selling holiday author.  Full Article 

Hacking Attack

Hacking Attack

N.Korea says did not hack Sony, wants joint probe with U.S.  Full Article 

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

BSE Sensex to hit 32,980 by December 2015  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage