November 8, 2012 / 5:56 AM / in 5 years

FOREX-Yen hits 1-month peak vs euro on risk aversion

* Risk sentiment hit as U.S. fiscal cliff worries mount

* NZ employment data knocks kiwi dlr lower

* Aussie dlr supported by upbeat jobs data

* Greek parliament approves austerity measures

By Masayuki Kitano and Ian Chua

SINGAPORE/SYDNEY, Nov 8 (Reuters) - The safe-haven yen touched a one-month high versus the euro on Thursday and the dollar slipped as worries about a looming U.S. fiscal crisis dampened investors’ risk appetite.

The euro briefly nudged higher after Greece’s parliament approved the government’s new austerity measures, which were needed to secure the next tranche of bailout money from international lenders.

But the single currency quickly gave back those gains. The euro touched a low of 101.75 yen earlier, the euro’s lowest level against the Japanese currency in about a month.

After trimming some of its losses, the euro stood at 101.94 yen, down 0.2 percent from late U.S. trade on Wednesday.

The dollar slipped 0.1 percent to 79.91 yen, staying below a six-month high of 80.68 yen set last week.

“The increase in risk aversion will help support the yen on the crosses as well as the dollar,” said Mitul Kotecha, head of global foreign exchange strategy for Credit Agricole in Hong Kong.

The yen stayed firm after rallying on Wednesday as U.S. stocks skidded 2.4 percent in their worst performance in over five months, and as U.S. benchmark Treasury yields fell sharply.

“Following President Obama’s election victory, we believe markets will begin to price in the eventuality of temporarily going over the fiscal cliff as the likelihood of a short-term compromise declines,” Barclays Capital analysts wrote in a client note.

The U.S. economy faces a real threat of a renewed recession next year depending on how Washington deals with the fiscal cliff -- about $600 billion in government spending cuts and higher taxes that will be enacted next year if Congress can’t agree on new arrangements to reduce the deficit.

In a sign of trouble ahead in resolving the “fiscal cliff”, Democratic and Republican leaders on Wednesday claimed new but conflicting election “mandates” on how and when to deal with tax increases and spending cuts that threaten a U.S. recession.

Markets were now waiting for the outcome of the European Central Bank policy meeting later on Thursday, although no rate move is expected.

Against the greenback, the euro eased 0.1 percent to $1.2753 , staying near a two-month low of $1.2736 hit on Wednesday.


The Australian dollar held steady at $1.0408.

Earlier, the Aussie dollar touched an intraday high at $1.0433 after data showed that Australian employment rose by more than expected in October, forcing the market to lengthen the odds of an interest rate cut by Australia’s central bank before the end of the year.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) had surprised some traders earlier in the week, when it held off from easing monetary policy and kept interest rates steady at 3.25 percent.

Investors punished the New Zealand dollar after data showed the country’s unemployment rate rose to its highest in more than 13 years in the third quarter.

The New Zealand dollar last changed hands at $0.8168 , having stood at about $0.8255 before the data was released.

“Combined with the previously reported low inflation print for Q3, the RBNZ may consider further cuts to the already low cash rate,” said Paul Bloxham, chief economist for Australia & New Zealand at HSBC.

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