* Euro posts one-month highs versus dollar and yen
* Moody's keeps Spain credit rating in investment grade
* Spanish bond sale next in focus
By Masayuki Kitano and Ian Chua
SINGAPORE/SYDNEY, Oct 17 The euro hit a
one-month high against the dollar on Wednesday after Moody's
affirmed Spain's investment grade rating, assuaging widespread
fears of a downgrade to junk status for the euro zone country.
Moody's action removed the most immediate risk to Spain
ahead of its bond auctions due on Thursday.
The euro rose to $1.3125, its highest level since
mid-September, but traders were cautious about the single
currency's near-term outlook, with some saying it may stay stuck
in range trading for now.
The euro was last up 0.3 percent from late U.S. trade at
"You have to wonder whether it makes sense to buy the euro
based just on this," said Hiroshi Maeba, head of FX trading
Japan for UBS in Tokyo, referring to Moody's decision to keep
Spain at Baa3, one notch above junk status.
"I think the euro in the end will stay in a $1.28 to $1.32
range, I don't think you can get too optimistic at this point,"
The single currency has been supported in recent weeks by
hopes that Spain will eventually request a bailout, a move that
would open the way for the European Central Bank to buy Spanish
debt and help lower Madrid's borrowing costs.
The exact timing of such an aid request, however, remains
The euro is likely to face firm resistance near $1.3173
ahead of a forthcoming European summit, said Callum Henderson,
global head of FX research for Standard Chartered Bank in
Singapore, referring to the euro's four-month high set in
"Our expectation is...that the European summit yet again
will be a disappointment and then it will go back down," he
said, adding that Spain seemed unlikely to make a formal aid
request at the summit. European leaders will meet in Brussels on
Thursday and Friday.
Investors had bought the euro the previous day on hopes
Spain may be close to seeking a bailout and following a survey
showing German analyst and investor sentiment had risen for a
second month in a row in October.
Traders cited a Bloomberg report about two German lawmakers
saying Germany is "open to Spain seeking a precautionary credit
line from Europe's rescue fund" as positive for the euro.
However, a senior German lawmaker said the report had
"over-interpreted" comments he made on the issue and he had not
been referring to Spain.
Helped by such factors and the Moody's announcement, the
euro touched a one-month high against the yen at 103.51 yen
earlier on Wednesday.
The single currency later trimmed its gains and changed
hands at 103.01 yen, little changed on the day.
The yen has been held back recently by speculation about the
potential for further monetary easing by the Bank of Japan,
which holds its next policy meeting on Oct. 30.
Market speculation about the potential for dollar-buying
flows related to Japanese mobile operator Softbank Corp's $20
billion deal to buy U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Nextel Corp,
has also weighed on the yen in recent sessions.
The dollar dipped 0.3 percent to 78.68 yen,
retreating from the previous day's one-month high of 78.97 yen.
The market now seems to be long the dollar, and such
positioning may weigh on the greenback since those bets could be
unwound at some point, traders said.
"There has been a build up of (long dollar) positions and
the dollar will probably stay heavy at levels near 79.00 yen at
least for the time being," said a trader for a major Japanese
bank in Singapore.