* Euro up after German Ifo, fails to break 7-week high
* Yen gains on soft China housing data
By Laurence Fletcher
LONDON, Feb 24 The euro rose against the dollar
on Monday after a better-than-forecast German business
indicator, while the yen climbed as investors sought safe havens
after a fall in Asian stock markets and soft China house price
The euro rose as high as $1.3772 against the dollar
after the closely watched German Ifo survey beat expectations,
although the single currency failed to break through its
seven-week high of $1.3773 hit last week.
The dollar, meanwhile, which hit a two-month low of 100.755
yen earlier this month, was 0.2 percent lower at 102.33 yen
The Nikkei was down 0.2 percent overnight. The yen
and the Nikkei tend to move in opposite directions, with a rally
in the index often seen as a signal for speculators to sell the
yen and buy higher-yielding currencies, while that trade may be
unwound when risk appetite falls.
The yen's strength this year has surprised hedge funds and
other investors alike. Many went into this year with bullish
bets on the greenback on the expectation that it would rise
against the Japanese currency as the U.S. Federal Reserve cut
back its bond-buying while the Bank of Japan eased monetary
"Dollar-yen moves on risk aversion, and when Tokyo stocks
are down dollar-yen is down, even if the reason is a drop-off in
activity in its (Japan's) major export market," said Marshall
Gittler, head of global FX strategy at IronFX Global.
Gittler pointed to euro zone inflation data for February on
Friday, as well as January inflation data later on Monday.
Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs agreed
at a weekend meeting in Sydney to set a collective GDP growth
target of 2 percent over the next five years.
ECB President Mario Draghi reiterated at the meeting that
Europe's recovery was "still fragile".
Global growth and recent turmoil in emerging markets were in
focus at the meeting, but the G20 communique did not hint at
significant friction between the advanced and emerging
The rise in home prices in China eased for the first time in
14 months in January, data showed on Monday, raising fresh
concerns over the health of an economy that has been a key
driver for global growth in recent years.
The dollar index was 0.1 percent down at 80.182 after
posting its first weekly gain in three weeks last week, largely
on minutes from the Federal Reserve's January policy meeting
showing that the U.S. central bank's plan to reduce its monthly
asset purchases remained intact.
Market participants will be keen to see whether the Fed's
tapering commitment offsets any weakness in U.S. economic
indicators due this week.
"What was agreed at the G20 meeting, such as setting a 2
percent global growth target, will be forgotten immediately. But
tacit approval by other G20 nations for U.S. tapering gives the
dollar some support while weighing on emerging currencies," said
Yunosuke Ikeda, forex strategist at Nomura Securities.