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FOREX-Euro nurses losses after sell-off, still vulnerable
April 5, 2012 / 5:22 AM / 6 years ago

FOREX-Euro nurses losses after sell-off, still vulnerable

* Poor Spanish bond auction spooks markets

* Fed’s less dovish stance weighs on risk currencies

* HSBC’s China services PMI report has little impact

By Antoni Slodkowski

TOKYO, April 5 (Reuters) - The euro hovered within shouting distance of a three-week trough on the yen and the dollar on Thursday after a poor Spanish bond auction reignited jitters about the euro zone debt crisis, while commodity currencies were a shade stronger after a sell-off.

The euro and risk currencies have been under pressure against the dollar, which climbed broadly after Fed policy meeting minutes released on Tuesday showed the central bank was becoming less eager to print more money to bolster the economy.

The euro, which dropped nearly 1 percent to $1.3107 on Wednesday, last stood at $1.3150, up 0.1 percent on the day. Immediate support for the currency loomed around $1.3094, the 76.4 percent retracement of the mid-to-late March rise.

“The weaker Spanish auctions on Wednesday provide a reminder that markets are not convinced that peripheral stress has completely abated,” BNP Paribas wrote in a client note.

Traders worry that the rally in debt of euro-zone peripheral nations sparked by the European Central Bank’s two Long-Term Refinancing Operations may be coming to a screeching halt.

The yield on Spain’s 10-year bond leaped to 5.7 percent, its highest since January. This overshadowed a successful step back into debt markets by similarly highly indebted Portugal.

“Thus, with concerns over Spain peaking through and political risk ever more apparent with the upcoming French and Greek elections ahead, we reiterate our EURUSD forecast of 1.28 by end of Q2,” BNP Paribas said.

The euro has failed to clear $1.3400 and the market now seems keen to first test the floor of a two-month range around $1.3000. Against the yen, the euro was at 108.25, not far off an overnight trough around 107.90.

A SHADE FIRMER

The dollar index, tracking the greenback’s performance against major currencies, remained close to a two-week high of 79.92 but had given back a bit of ground to 79.67.

With the dollar holding on to most of its chunky gains, the Australian dollar struggled to decisively pull away from a three-month low of $1.0243 plumbed on Wednesday even though data showed China’s services sector expanded solidly in March.

The Aussie last fetched $1.0291, with a 1.4 percent gain by the Shanghai stock market helping it to hold above support at $1.0263, the 50 percent retracement of the November-February rally. China is Australia’s biggest export market.

The Aussie was knocked from its February high of $1.0857 to the previous session’s nadir by a soft patch of local data, fears about a hard landing in China and expectations for a rate cut next month.

The yen rose 0.2 percent on the dollar to 82.26 as traders trimmed their short yen positions ahead of the Easter holidays and the all-important U.S. jobs data on Friday.

There is now a growing feeling among investors that at least some of the recent economic improvement in the United States may have been due to the mild winter and traders are turning cautious ahead of second-quarter economic data.

The key non-farm payrolls data due on Friday is expected to show the U.S. economy added 203,000 jobs last month, after February’s non-farm payrolls rose 227,000.

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