* Equities firm, boosting euro and other riskier currencies
* Market awaits reopening of U.S. equities after Sandy
* German retail sales data better than forecast
* Safe-haven yen falls, Aussie dollar firms
By Jessica Mortimer
LONDON, Oct 31 The euro rose on Wednesday,
lifted as equity market gains helped perceived riskier
currencies, and with direction likely to be determined by how
Wall Street reopens after storm disruption.
Traders cited demand for euros from Middle Eastern investors
and a supranational, while forecast-beating growth in German
retail sales numbers for September, which rose at their fastest
pace since June 2011, added to the single currency's appeal.
The euro rose 0.4 percent to $1.3014, its
strongest in nearly a week. A sustained rise above $1.30 could
see it target the Oct. 25 high of $1.3023 and then the
mid-October peak of $1.3140.
Comments by Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President
Narayana Kocherlakota, who strongly defended the U.S. central
bank's ultra-easy monetary policy, weighed on the dollar.
"The market is waiting to see how the U.S. market opens
after Sandy. Equity futures are higher so people are expecting a
positive opening," said Arne Lohmann Rasmussen, head of currency
research at Danske Bank in Copenhagen.
"Over the next few months we think euro/dollar will break
higher. We believe the market is underestimating the effect of
the Fed's open-ended easing policy and tail risks will be priced
out of the euro once Spain applies for a bailout," he said,
adding he recommended buying euros on dips.
But traders said the euro's gains against the dollar may be
limited due to expected month-end demand to buy dollars.
The euro remained hampered by uncertainty over when Spain
may apply for a bailout, which would allow the European Central
Bank to buy its bonds, and over whether Greece will agree to
austerity and reforms.
This kept the single currency well within its
$1.2800-$1.3200 range seen since mid-September.
Traders also said October surveys of manufacturing activity
in China and the United States on Thursday, the monthly U.S.
jobs report on Friday and the presidential election next week
had the potential to whip markets around.
Euro zone finance ministers will hold a conference call on
Wednesday to discuss progress in negotiations on the revised
Greek bailout but are not expected to make any decisions yet,
two euro zone officials said on Tuesday.
Near-bankrupt Greece needs to push through spending cuts and
tax measures worth 13.5 billion euros ($17.52 billion) as well
as a raft of reforms to appease EU and IMF lenders and secure
bailout money needed to avoid running out of cash next month.
The yen fell, pulling away from a one-week high against the
dollar and a two-week high versus the euro, paring gains made
the previous day after the Bank of Japan eased monetary policy
but not by as much as many were expecting.
The dollar was up 0.2 percent at 79.76 yen,
recovering from a fall to 79.28 yen on Tuesday, with improved
risk appetite weighing on the safe-haven Japanese currency.
The euro rose 0.5 percent to 103.67 yen, off
Tuesday's low of 102.175 yen.
"If the global and domestic economy gets worse, the BOJ
could take bolder steps, but at the same time the yen tends to
rise as a currency of a creditor nation," said Taisuke Tanaka,
FX strategist at Deutsche in Tokyo.
Greater appetite to take on risk also helped the
higher-yielding Australian dollar rise 0.3 percent to
$1.0384, while sterling was up 0.25 percent at $1.6113.
The Australian dollar was helped after Australia's central
bank deputy governor Philip Lowe said on Tuesday the local
currency was not fundamentally overvalued and set a very high
bar for intervening to weaken it.