FOREX-Euro inches up after EU elections

Mon May 26, 2014 7:56am EDT

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(Adds more comment, updates prices)

* Euro inches up after Italian, Greece fears dampened

* Dollar index still near 7-week highs

* U.S. and UK markets shut for public holidays

By Patrick Graham

LONDON, May 26 (Reuters) - The euro recovered early losses on Monday after election results handed a significant share of the EU parliament to Eurosceptics but failed to deliver the serious domestic blow to some European governments feared by analysts.

With London and U.S. markets closed for holidays, volumes were less than half of daily averages, often an environment which can make for volatile moves in pricing.

The euro blipped higher soon after the start of European trading, but was still up just 0.08 percent at 1.3643. The dollar, strong in recent days, traded at 80.293, just off a 7-week high against a trade-weighted basket of currencies.

There was little immediate reaction to comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi ahead of a meeting next week expected to take steps to ease monetary policy further and boost growth.

Stock markets across Europe were sharply higher due to relief that the results that EU polls in Italy and Greece did not appear to threaten the stability of either government.

"There does look like a bit of a risk on mood today and you could ascribe the euro's moves to that," said a trader with one Scandinavian bank.

"But it is only 20 pips and the euro has been heading lower for quite some time. It may well just be some people have taken the chance to take some profit."

One substantial mover while the region's main trading centre, London, was offline, was the Swedish crown, gaining a quarter of a percent against the euro after a better than expected print on retail sales.

"All in all this data was reasonably positive for the crown," said the same Scandinavian dealer. "You always have to be cautious about these kind of moves on slow days like this. It may well bounce back tomorrow."

5-STAR

The elections saw critics of the European Union more than double their seats in a protest vote against austerity and unemployment, but Italian bond prices rose as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi looked set to outstrip the country's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.

Greek 10-year yields were 31 basis points lower at 6.22 percent after the anti-austerity Syriza movement of Alexis Tsipras won the vote but failed to deliver a knockout blow to the government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Elsewhere there were stunning victories for nationalist parties in Britain and France.

"Of course the French government will try and avoid any painful reforms even more so than before now. And the fact that the Greek government has no backing amongst the population was confirmed impressively by the election result," said Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of global FX research with Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

"However, in the end the reasons behind euro purchases are unlikely to have been hopes for reform in France or the political stability in Greece. As a result the outcome of the election is not an event that should affect the FX market."

The euro has fallen more than 2 percent against the dollar since May 5 against a backdrop of rising expectations that the ECB will further ease returns for holding the common currency next month.

Data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission published on Friday for the week ended May 20 showed speculators raised their net short positions in the euro to 9,220 contracts from 2,175 contracts the previous week.

Against the yen, the dollar was last roughly flat at 101.90 yen. (Editing by Toby Chopra)

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