FOREX-Euro hovers near 2-month low as Greece fears linger

Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:40pm IST

* Euro zone won't authorize more funds for Greece on Monday

* China data shows economy recovering

* U.S. fiscal worries hit appetite for riskier assets

By Julie Haviv

NEW YORK, Nov 12 (Reuters) - The euro treaded water against the dollar on Monday, but hovered close to a recent two-month low as uncertainty about whether Greece will receive another tranche of financial aid to help pay off its debt kept investors cautious.

The euro is down about 1.9 percent against the dollar so far in November and has limited scope for gains even if Greece receives aid, with a bleak economic backdrop in the euro zone starkly contrasting with an improving U.S. economy.

Also favoring the safe-haven dollar against the euro is a looming U.S. "fiscal cliff," which some believe has the potential to send the economy into another recession.

But concerns about Greece were at the forefront as euro zone governments disagreed on whether to disburse more money to debt-ravaged Greece on Monday, despite the government approving a tough 2013 budget because there is not yet a consensus on how to make its debts sustainable into the next decade.

"The key question is if the latest tranche of aid will be released in time for Greece to meet a November 16th deadline on five billion euros in debt payments," said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.

Athens has to redeem 5 billion euros ($6.36 billion) worth of Treasury bills on Nov. 16 and had been counting on cash from the next tranche of aid to help cover that.

"While a deal later this week would likely support the euro, its overall gains should continue to be capped by mounting worries about economic malaise spreading from the bloc's periphery into its core," Esiner said.

Greece will get two more years to reach previously agreed budget goals but the extra will cost the euro zone an additional 32.6 billion euros, draft documents prepared for a meeting of euro zone finance ministers showed.

The European Central Bank has agreed to broaden the framework for allowing Greek banks top tap emergency loans from Greece's central bank did not influence the euro.

The euro last traded flat at $1.2714, not far from a two-month low of $1.2688 touched on Friday, according to Reuters data. Traders cited stop loss sell orders below $1.2685 with option expiries at $1.2700 and $1.2750.

This was likely to keep the euro between $1.2690 and $1.2750.

Trade in the U.S. was on the light side, with the government bond market closed in observance of the U.S. Veterans Day holiday.

"What we are seeing in the past month has been a gradual erosion of investor confidence in the euro zone and that is starting to lead to renewed downward pressure on the euro," said Lee Hardman, currency economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in London.

"Ultimately the situation of Greece remains unsustainable and these really are measures to kick the can down the road rather than actually dealing with the situation effectively."

Concerns about Greece trumped data in China suggesting it is recovering from slower growth, assuaging concerns about the world's second-largest economy.

Looking ahead, the euro will be swayed by data due later this week, which is forecast to show a slowdown in German growth in coming quarters and France slipping into recession.


Concerns about the so-called U.S. fiscal cliff has seen safe-haven flows into the dollar and kept it near a two-month high against a basket of currencies.

Demand for higher-risk currencies has been sluggish as investors fret about the possible impact of some $600 billion in expiring U.S. tax cuts and spending reductions due to take effect in January without a deal on Capitol Hill.

Markets shrugged off a 0.9 percent July-September quarter-on-quarter contraction in Japan's economic output, in line with forecasts. This was the first negative reading in three quarters, but it added to fears that slowing global growth is pushing the Japanese economy into recession.

Morgan Stanley held to its medium-term view that the yen would weaken and said it expected dollar/yen to resume its uptrend.

The dollar was last at 79.46 yen, flat on the day, but above Friday's close of 79.06 yen, its weakest since Oct. 18. The euro also traded flat against the yen at 100.98 , according to Reuters data.

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