Euro falls vs dollar, yen on euro zone uncertainty


The single currency was expected to stay subdued against the dollar and the yen, with investors preferring safe-haven currencies also on renewed worries about weak earnings from top companies in the region.
Near-bankrupt Greece needs a comprehensive deal on an austerity package to unlock its next tranche of aid before it runs out of cash in mid-November. International lenders have refused to make more concessions on changes to labor laws contested by a junior partner in the ruling coalition, prolonging the impasse on a reforms package and weighing on the euro.
A Spanish bailout would enable the European Central Bank to buy the country’s bonds. Unless Spain formally seeks a rescue, sentiment toward the euro is unlikely to turn positive, traders said. A meeting between Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday had little impact on trading.
“There’s no quick fix for Europe’s problems and even though this week’s European bond auctions and Spanish bond redemption may pass smoothly, the stability will be a mere illusion,” said Kathy Lien, managing director at BK Asset Management in New York. “Spain is in a state of denial about its problems and while current borrowing costs are more manageable, they need to drop below 5 percent to remove the need for a bailout.” The single currency was down 0.2 percent at $1.2915, not far from a two-week low of $1.2881, with bids from sovereign investors cited at $1.2850. Technical analysts saw support at its 200-day moving average. The euro bought 102.95 yen, down 0.1 percent and well off a six-month peak touched on October 23.
Traders expect activity will be thin as Hurricane Sandy is expected to slam into the U.S. East Coast later on Monday. U.S. stock and options markets will be closed on Monday, and possibly Tuesday, as regulators, exchanges and brokers worry about the integrity of markets and the safety of employees.
“The market is likely to remain quiet today as many are more focused on personal safety and the safety of their family and property,” said Brad Bechtel, managing director at Faros Trading in Stamford, Connecticut. “I would expect we remain in a sluggish risk tone, meaning U.S. dollar bid and emerging market soft through the remainder of today as there isn’t much to shift the grumpy mood of the market today.”
YEN CONSOLIDATES: The dollar rose 0.1 percent to 79.73 yen, just off the session high of 79.75 yen but below Friday’s four-month high of 80.36 yen. The BOJ is expected to further ease monetary policy and might make a stronger commitment to keep pumping in cash until its 1 percent annual inflation target is achieved, sources have said.
“BOJ easing expectations were a big factor for markets last week, but are not having much impact this week, with the likely outcome already factored in,” said Masashi Murata, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo.