* Euro dips, some see its recent rise as overdone
* U.S. budget talks main focus in year-end trades
* Dollar steady after hitting 2-year high vs yen
* Currency moves volatile due to thin liquidity
By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK, Dec 28 The euro edged lower against
the dollar and yen on Friday as investors locked in recent
gains, although it could trim losses if progress is made toward
a last-minute deal in U.S. budget talks to avert tax hikes and
spending cuts next year.
An agreement on the U.S. budget would be viewed as positive
for riskier currencies such as the euro and Australian dollar,
while a deadlock or snags in fiscal negotiations to avoid the
"fiscal cliff" is deemed positive for the safe-haven and highly
President Barack Obama and U.S. lawmakers are making a
last-ditch attempt to revive stalled budget talks, days before a
New Year's deadline. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will
meet congressional leaders from both parties at the White House
later on Friday.
Positive sentiment on the meeting did not last long,
however, said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX
strategy, at BK Asset Management in New York.
"Prices have become so overbought that there was little
enthusiasm to rally further. Once the selling began, it quickly
triggered stops across the board, taking euro/dollar below the
$1.3200 level and dollar/yen below 86.00."
The euro was down 0.1 percent on the day at $1.3221,
having slipped to a session low of $1.3164 when traders said it
broke below stop-loss sell orders around $1.3170.
Although analysts partly attributed the euro's drop to
year-end dollar demand and thin liquidity, they said unwinding
of long euro positions also weighed on the currency.
The euro has made rapid strides since mid-November, gaining
around 5 percent in a month to hit an 8-1/2 month high of
$1.33085 on Dec. 19 as worries around the euro zone crisis
"There is still a good chunk of skepticism among market
participants about the euro being significantly higher than the
$1.32-$1.33 level," said Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of FX research
"Speculative market participants are not very happy with
these levels and look at it as a good opportunity to sell the
euro, which is leading to the rapid drop in euro/dollar."
The euro's falls helped the dollar rise to a two-week high
against a basket of currencies, with its index rising to
The euro also reversed early gains against the yen to trade
down 0.1 percent at 113.84 yen, having earlier hit a
17-month low of 114.675 yen as expectations of more monetary
stimulus continued to pressure the Japanese currency.
The dollar was steady against the yen at 86.11 yen,
edging away from a peak of 86.64 yen, its strongest since August
2010, when it stopped just shy of reported options barriers at
86.75 yen and 87.00 yen.
Expectations that the new Japanese government will push the
Bank of Japan to ease monetary policy further have weighed
broadly on the yen and analysts say it could fall further.
The yen's unabated slide since Shinzo Abe took the helm as
Japan's prime minister on Wednesday has taken the currency to
two-year lows for three straight days. Abe has vowed to press
for aggressive monetary stimulus to fight deflation.
"Clearly there is some momentum in dollar/yen on
expectations the BOJ will become more expansionary and this is
currently weighing on the yen," said Marcus Hettinger, global FX
strategist at Credit Suisse.
The yen has fallen more than 10.6 percent against the dollar
in 2012, putting it on track for its biggest annual percentage
drop since 2005.
The dollar looked set to end the week above its 200-week
moving average, now around 84.95 yen, for the first time since
late December 2007, a technical signal indicating further gains.