* Euro off from 7-month high vs yen, slightly lower vs
* Germany deputy finance minister sees Greece deal on Monday
* Resumption of U.S. 'fiscal cliff' talks eyed
By Steven C. Johnson
NEW YORK, Nov 26 The euro retreated against the
dollar and yen on Monday but remained within reach of recent
highs as investors hoped for deals to restart emergency aid to
Greece and to head off a U.S. fiscal crisis.
Germany's finance minister said he expected a deal later on
Monday that would unfreeze aid for Greece, the 17-country euro
zone's most heavily indebted member.
Finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund began
their third attempt in as many weeks to disburse the funds,
which has been delayed by disagreement over how to reduce that
country's large debt load.
Traders said concern about whether U.S. lawmakers would
reach a deal of their own to avoid $600 billion of tax hikes and
spending cuts in 2013 also limited risk appetite and encouraged
profit-taking after several days of euro gains.
That pushed the euro to $1.2966, about 25 cents off a
one-month high hit last week. It fell 0.5 percent to 106.37 yen
after hitting a seven-month peak above 107 overnight.
But traders also said the market expected Greece would
ultimately get its money and was cautiously optimistic that the
U.S. economy would not plunge over the "fiscal cliff" in
"It's hard to be completely hedged and wedged. You have to
take a view, and our view is more on the positive side: we think
things will get resolved" with Greece and the so-called U.S.
fiscal cliff, said Adnan Akant, head of foreign exchange at
Fischer Francis Trees & Watts.
The dollar was also weaker against the yen, slipping 0.4
percent to 82.05 yen. Traders said some investors unwound
bets in favor of the greenback built up in recent weeks.
The Japanese currency has been under pressure in recent
weeks on mounting speculation that a new government after next
month's general elections will force the Bank of Japan to ease
monetary policy aggressively.
RISK REVIVAL AHEAD?
HSBC currency strategist Daragh Maher said the slight euro
selling was no surprise after its recent gains. "I don't think
there is any conviction" behind it, he said, adding the currency
should rise if a Greece deal is reached.
In fact, a Greek deal and a U.S. fiscal agreement would
likely boost risk appetite altogether, which should lift the
Australian and New Zealand dollars, Akant said.
Expectations of a deal for Greece overshadowed an election
victory for separatists in the Spanish region of Catalonia on
"The euro should end the year at $1.33, but we are still in
a back-and-forth market and many factors need to be resolved for
that forecast to hold," said BNP Paribas currency strategist
"Some of those factors include Greece receiving more aid,
'fiscal cliff' issues being avoided or postponed and if the
Federal Reserve announces plans next month to expand its balance
sheet," he said.
More Fed easing would weigh on the dollar as it would amount
to flooding the financial system with more greenbacks and would
cement Fed pledges to keep interest rates at zero into 2015.