FOREX-Euro hits 6-month high against yen, off lows vs dollar

Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:12am EST

Related Topics

* Prospects for Greek aid deal limits euro losses

* Lenders to meet again next Monday to seek agreement

* Dollar hits 7-1/2 month high vs yen, breaks above 82 yen

* Euro crosses 105 yen for first time since early May

By Anooja Debnath

LONDON, Nov 21 (Reuters) - The euro hit a 6-1/2 month high against a struggling yen on Wednesday, and trimmed losses versus the dollar as euro zone politicians ramped up efforts to reach a deal over aid for Greece.

The yen fell to a 7-1/2 month low against the dollar on speculation the Bank of Japan would come under political pressure to ease its already loose monetary policy further and on weak export data. The Japanese currency has been losing ground against major rivals for several weeks.

The euro last traded at $1.2806, off a session low of $1.2736, with stop-loss buy orders cited around $1.2720-30. It had dropped earlier after Greece's international lenders failed to reach agreement on releasing emergency aid.

Euro zone finance ministers, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank ended 12 hours of talks without agreement on the next tranche of loans to Athens, as they haggled over how to reduce the country's debt to a sustainable level.

The single currency cut losses after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she saw chances of a deal at a meeting of European finance ministers on Monday.

"Everyone is looking at the probability they will come up with a solution by Monday," said Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of FX research at Commerzbank, adding those expectations would support the euro above last week's low of $1.2661.

"But I fear there may be more disappointment than many people expect. The market has not properly priced the risks that are on the table."

Leuchtmann said any euro gains ahead of the talks to be capped around this week's high of $1.2829.

The single currency has also been under pressure from recent economic data showing the euro zone is in recession and from uncertainty over Spain. Madrid has not yet requested the financial aid many in markets think it needs and the country faces a secessionist threat in a regional election on Sunday in Catalonia.

YEN STUMBLES

The Japanese yen extended losses to hit multi-month lows across the board on Wednesday after the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, tipped to win in a parliamentary election next month, pledged to push for further easing by the BOJ.

The yen was also hurt by data showing Japanese exports declined for a fifth month in succession, fanning concern the country may be slipping into recession.

The dollar rose 0.8 percent to 82.36 yen, its highest since early April, after breaking through a reported options barrier at 82 yen and triggering stop-loss orders.

It was the dollar's sixth consecutive day of gains against the yen, and market players cited further options barriers at 82.50 yen.

"The obvious target on the upside is the 84 yen level, the high set in February this year. That is certainly feasible now given the moves we have had in recent days," said Derek Halpenny, European head of global currency research at Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi.

He added that as Japan headed towards the Dec. 16 election investors could turn cautious about heavily selling the yen.

The euro broke above a critical barrier of 105.50 yen to hit a 6-1/2 month high of 105.55 and was up 0.8 percent on the day.

The Australian dollar also rose to a 7-1/2 month high of 85.35 yen.

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