* Deal reached to spin off Greek units of Cypriot banks
* Euro gains limited by risk of Cyprus banking collapse
* Weaker-than-expected German Ifo index weighs on euro
By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK, March 22 The euro rose broadly on
Friday on optimism Cyprus will be able to cobble together a
last-minute deal that will avert a financial meltdown before a
Europe's shared currency was on track for its best weekly
performance against the dollar in about seven weeks.
The EU has given Cyprus until Monday to raise the 5.8
billion euros it needs to secure a 10 billion euro international
lifeline. Without a deal, the European Central Bank will cut
funds to Cypriot banks.
On Friday, however, Cyprus moved a step closer to raising
those funds by agreeing to spin off Greek units of debt-ridden
Cypriot banks. The Cypriot presidency said the deal had been
settled with favourable terms for Cyprus.
Also the deputy leader of Cyprus' ruling party said a
bailout solution within the terms set by the European Union may
be possible in the "next few hours.". That
pushed the euro to one-week highs against the dollar.
There's still a long way to go, however. Cyprus's talks with
Russia ended without a positive outcome just yet, but the
troubled euro zone government said it has other proposals on the
"Some combination of lower levies on deposits, Russian
forbearance and fiscal commitments by the Cyprus government
remains the most likely outcome," said Steven Englander, global
head of G10 strategy at CitFX in New York.
"The resolution should give the euro a little pop, but the
pop is unlikely to be big or permanent. The negative impact will
be felt more powerfully down the road when the next crisis
In midday New York trading, the euro rose 0.7 percent
on the day to $1.2986, with traders citing buying by a UK bank.
It hit a four-month low of $1.2843 earlier in the week after
Cyprus rejected the terms of a proposed European Union bailout.
Strategists, however, said the single currency could
struggle to break above $1.30 and would remain vulnerable to
developments in Cyprus and the risk of contagion to other euro
Nonetheless, market participants don't seem to be panicking.
"It looks like the euro can weather this latest storm, but
beyond that, it's going to be a slow drag," said Brian Kim,
currency strategist at RBS Securities in Stamford, Connecticut.
RBS' outlook on the euro remained bearish given the euro
zone's economic underperformance vis-à-vis the United States,
Traders expect the euro increasingly to reflect the emerging
risks to the euro zone. While the European Central Bank has
tools in place to prevent contagion, an exit by Cyprus would
still sour sentiment towards European assets.
GERMAN IFO DISAPPOINTS
Earlier in the session the euro hit a two-week low of 121.44
yen after Germany's Ifo survey of business morale fell
short of expectations.. It later recovered and
was last trading up 0.3 percent on the day at 122.81 yen.
Asian investors were cited as buyers of short-dated options,
betting on drops to 121 and 120.50 yen.
The dollar was down 0.5 percent against the yen at 94.43 yen
, having earlier fallen to 94.195 yen. The highly-liquid
Japanese currency tends to be bought during times of economic
uncertainty and heightened financial market stress.
The yen has risen against the dollar for a second straight
On Thursday the dollar shed about 1.2 percent as investors
covered their negative yen bets after new Bank of Japan Governor
Haruhiko Kuroda came out less dovish than many had expected.
Gains in the euro saw the dollar index fall 0.5
percent to 82.368, retreating further from last week's
seven-month high of 83.166.