NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar tumbled against the euro while the euro rose against the Swiss franc on Thursday on speculation the Swiss National Bank was buying euros and as traders took a sanguine view on developments surrounding Greece.
The view that the Swiss central bank was buying euros to weaken the franc boosted the euro broadly and helped the currency reverse losses it posted on Wednesday when the European Central Bank said it would no longer accept Greek bonds in return for funding.
“If the SNB has a new policy of intervening to change the value of the euro/Swiss ... it will tend to push the euro higher,” said Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist at WorldWideMarkets in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
The euro was up 1.21 percent against the dollar EUR=EBS at $1.14835 after hitting a low of $1.13040. The euro hit 1.06425 franc, its highest against the franc EURCHF=EBS since Jan. 15, when the Swiss central bank stunned markets by scrapping the three-year-old cap on its currency.
Analysts said traders brushed off Wednesday’s announcement from the ECB regarding Greek funding and took the view the consequences may not be dramatic in the near term.
“Greece’s problems are not spilling over to the rest of the world because Greek bonds are no longer owned by banks outside of Greece that would be vulnerable if Greece were to default,” said Axel Merk, president and chief investment officer of Palo Alto, California-based Merk Investments.
The greenback was hurt after data showed the U.S. trade deficit in December widened to its biggest since 2012 as the dollar’s recent strength appeared to suck in imports and weigh on exports, while a report showing a surge in German industrial orders for December helped the euro.
The Swiss franc, meanwhile, benefited from the dollar's weakness. The greenback was last down 0.35 percent against the franc at 0.92245 franc CHF=EBS.
The dollar rose modestly against the safe-haven Japanese yen, however, with analysts citing greater risk appetite in response to a rebound in oil prices and strength in U.S. equities.
The dollar was last up 0.23 percent against the yen at 117.55 yen JPY=EBS. The dollar index .DXY, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was last down 0.49 percent at 93.524.
On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 .SPX stock index was last up 1.07 percent.[ID:nL1N0VF1RB]
Additional reporting by Jemima Kelly in London; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and James Dalgleish