FOREX-Euro edges lower as Greece, U.S. fiscal woes weigh

Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:24pm EST

Related Topics

* Lack of clarity on Greek deal dents sentiment
    * German lawmakers expected to pass deal on Friday
    * Yen regains ground as investors unwind short positions
    * U.S.' Boehner optimistic about U.S. fiscal deal

    By Wanfeng Zhou
    NEW YORK, Nov 28 (Reuters) - The euro fell for a third
straight session against the dollar and yen on Wednesday on
worries about how a deal on Greek debt would be implemented and
uncertainty over whether the United States would avoid the
"fiscal cliff."
    The yen, which typically benefits during times of economic
uncertainty, rose broadly, helped partly by reduced expectations
of near-term monetary easing by the Bank of Japan.    
    International lenders agreed on a plan to cut Greek debt
this week, allowing Athens to avoid a chaotic default. But the
lack of details and skepticism on how Athens will implement the
reforms needed to reach the new targets kept investors wary.
    German lawmakers and media accused the government of
deceiving taxpayers over the true costs of saving Greece and
said the euro zone would eventually have to write off much of
its Greek debt. The Bundestag, the lower house of Germany's
parliament, will vote on Friday on the deal, and approval is
expected.
    "Greece is insolvent, and Europe is playing a Ponzi game,"
said Stephen Jen, managing partner at SLJ Macro Partners in
London.
    The euro fell 0.1 percent to $1.2938. Traders cited
bids at $1.2870 and $1.2850, which could limit losses in the
near term, with some attributing the euro's weakness to talk of
dollar demand for month-end portfolio adjustments. Offers were
cited at $1.2940.
    The euro zone's common currency pared some losses after U.S.
House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, voiced
optimism that Republicans could broker a deal with the White
House to avoid year-end austerity measures. But he repeated his
opposition to raising income-tax rates. 
    "The proof is still in the pudding, though, when it comes to
actual action on the part of politicians," said Neal Gilbert,
market strategist at GFT in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
    "Remember that there were pleasantries bandied about almost
two weeks ago that quickly turned to further entrenching of
ideals a few days later. So I remain skeptical that the public
pronouncement of optimism is truly sincere."
    The so-called U.S. fiscal cliff refers to a combination of
automatic tax increases and spending cuts due to start to kick
in at the beginning of the year that could tip the world's
biggest economy into recession and depress the global outlook.
    Against the yen, the euro slid 0.3 percent to 106.04 yen
, moving away from a seven-month high of 107.13 yen set
on Monday. It also fell to a 2-1/2-month low against the Swiss
franc, another safe haven, at 1.2024. It was last down
0.1 percent at 1.2034 francs.
    The dollar slid 0.2 percent to 81.96 yen, retreating
from last week's 7-1/2-month high of 82.84 yen. Market players
cited demand for the dollar at 81.70 yen, which could limit the
yen's gains.
    The U.S. economy trucked along at a "measured" pace in
recent weeks and hiring remained modest, according to the
Federal Reserve's anecdotal Beige Book report that did little to
calm concerns about slow growth and high unemployment.
 
    Earlier, data showed new U.S. single-family home sales fell
slightly in October and the previous month's pace of sales was
revised sharply lower, casting a shadow over one of the brighter
spots in the U.S. economy.     
    The yen rose as investors unwound long dollar and euro
positions built in recent weeks on expectations that a fresh
election on Dec. 16 will result in the election of a new prime
minister. The new Japanese leader is widely expected to put
pressure on the Bank of Japan to further ease monetary policy.
    The Japanese currency had lost about 4 percent against the
dollar over the past two weeks as investors started to price in
aggressive monetary policy action after the Japanese election.
    Shinzo Abe, who is likely to emerge as premier, has called
for more aggressive easing, but some investors have begun to
question how much impact he will have on monetary policy.
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