November 23, 2010 / 11:28 PM / 9 years ago

FOREX-Euro shaky after tumble, dollar up on risk aversion

   * Euro zone debt crisis, Korea tensions driving markets
 * Euro shaky after fall, more losses seen
 * Dollar and yen benefit from renewed risk aversion
 By Ian Chua
 SYDNEY, Nov 24 (Reuters) - The euro languished at two month
lows early in Asia on Wednesday, threatening to deepen its
losses, while the euro zone debt crisis and heightened tensions
in the Korean Pennisular helped underpin the dollar.
 Already hammered by Europe's inability to contain Ireland's
debt woes, the single currency shed 1.9 percent overnight to as
low as $1.3359 EUR=, putting key support in the $1.3333 area,
the August high, in clear sight.
 A break of that level could pave the way for a retest of
$1.3232, the 61.8 percent retracement of the August to November
rally, before $1.3000. It last traded at $1.3378, versus
$1.3373 late in New York.
 In the words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the euro
was in an "exceptionally serious" situation.
 Investors took aim at Spanish government bonds on Tuesday,
driving the premium over German benchmarks to a euro lifetime
high after Madrid was forced to pay a high cost to sell
short-term bills.
 "Contagion from the Irish situation during the last few
months was largely limited to Greece and Portugal. Not any
more," wrote Matthew Strauss, strategist at RBC Capital
Markets, in a note.
 TAKE A LOOK -  Korea situation               [ID:nKOREA]    
Risks to watch on the Korean peninsula      [ID:nRISKKR]
 Fed pondered radical policy steps         [ID:nFEDAHEAD]
 TAKE A LOOK- Europe's debt problems         [nLDE68T0MG]
 Multimedia on Euro Zone Crisis:
 The European Union urged Ireland to adopt an austerity
budget on time to unlock promised EU/IMF funding, in response
to a deepening political crisis that could derail the financial
rescue to recapitalise the country's banks and fund its public
 Further dampening risk appetite was heightened tension in
north Asia after North Korea fired scores of artillery shells
at a South Korean island on Tuesday, prompting Seoul to warn of
"enormous retaliation" if it took more aggressive steps.
 The dollar surged to 1,170.90 won KRW=, from around 1,125
won on Tuesday as investors dumped the South Korean currency.
 "It just means the whole region is less attractive than it
was before this," said Sean Callow, strategist at Westpac Bank
in Sydney. "Into year-end, only the brave will be nibbling at
risk. That is negative for Asian currencies and negative for
the Aussie as well."
 As investors took fright and sold riskier assets such as
stocks, the yen and dollar benefited from the flight to safety.
The Japanese currency was the best performer among the majors,
chalking up gains against the dollar, euro and sterling.
 The dollar briefly fell below 83.00 yen JPY= before
recovering slightly to 83.13. The euro slumped to 110.69
EURJPY=R from a session high of 113.68, reaching lows not
seen since Sept. 16. It was last at 111.19 yen.
   The dollar index rallied towards 79.800 .DXY, its best
level since late September, having pierced Fibonacci resistance
at 79.596, a level representing the 50 percent retracement of
the August to November fall.
 The next hurdle is at 80.533, the 61.8 percent retracement.
 Commodity currencies also languished against the backdrop
of heightened risk aversion. The Australian dollar AUD=D4
slid to a four-week low of $0.9708 and was last at $0.9730,
while the New Zealand currency NZD=D4 plumbed $0.7584, lows
not seen since Oct. 29.
 Investors are now looking to see how Asian shares fare and
further losses will tend to keep the yen and dollar supported.
 (Additional reporting by Steven C. Johnson in New York)

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