FOREX-Euro sags, market wants clarity on Spain
* Euro's slip stems from wait for Spain to request aid
* Stop-loss selling adds to euro's drop
* Aussie dips despite China export rebound
By Masayuki Kitano and Hideyuki Sano
SINGAPORE/TOKYO, Oct 15 (Reuters) - The euro slipped against the dollar on Monday, with stop-loss selling adding to its drop, as traders awaited clarity on when Spain would request a bailout to shore up its battered finances.
The euro fell 0.4 percent to $1.2899 and dipped to a low of $1.2891 at one point. One trader said some stop-loss selling in the euro kicked in at levels below $1.2900.
Uncertainty about when Madrid would seek financial aid has kept the euro trapped in a range roughly between $1.2800 and $1.3100 since mid-September, when its rally to a high of $1.3173 ran out of steam.
"The euro will likely be capped for now because that is unlikely to happen soon before Spanish regional elections (on Oct. 21)," said Minori Uchida, chief FX analyst at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in Tokyo, referring to a possible aid request by Spain.
Traders said there was some disappointment that Spain did not ask for financial aid over the weekend, although others said an attempt by short-term speculators to trigger stop-loss selling may have played a bigger role in the euro's latest drop.
However, traders added that euro sellers were likely to close their positions fairly quickly, as many market players expect Madrid to eventually ask for help. One major support for the euro comes in near $1.2825, its 200-day moving average.
A formal request by Spain for a bailout is widely seen as being positive for the euro, as it would open the way for the European Central Bank to activate its bond-buying programme and help bring down Spanish borrowing costs.
Euro zone officials have said that Spain could ask for financial aid from the euro zone next month.
The dollar pushed higher while commodity currencies retreated, with the Australian dollar falling 0.3 percent to $1.0216.
"There doesn't seem to be a very clear reason, but there is a risk-off mood in the market," said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore.
Weakness in Asian equities underscored the cautious market sentiment, he said.
"But it's not as if such moves are really picking up a head of steam," Okagawa added.
Data over the weekend showed China's exports grew at roughly twice the rate expected in September, while imports also improved, raising hopes that measures to spur growth in the world's second biggest economy are working.
"The better-than-expected upswing in Chinese exports follows similar outcomes for Taiwan and Korea and may be consistent with a bottoming in global manufacturing PMIs in suggesting a possible stabilisation or improvement in global growth," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital.
Chinese inflation data released on Monday was in line with market expectations and had little impact on the Australian dollar, which is sensitive to the number as China is Australia's biggest export market.
The U.S. dollar, which tends to rise when investor appetite for risky assets falters, held firm. The dollar index, a gauge of the dollar's value against a basket of major currencies, edged up 0.4 percent to 79.946.
The dollar held steady versus the yen at 78.46 yen.
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