October 29, 2012 / 1:10 PM / 7 years ago

FOREX-Euro slips on uncertainty over Spain and Greece

* Euro slips, weighed down by Greek and Spanish concerns

* Yen’s upside capped as BOJ expected to ease on Tuesday

* Light U.S. trading expected as storm nears East Coast

NEW YORK, Oct 29 (Reuters) - The euro slipped against the dollar and yen on Monday, hurt by uncertainty over whether Greece can agree to a deal on austerity and with no sign of when Spain might request aid.

The single currency was expected to stay subdued against the dollar and the yen, with investors preferring safe-haven currencies also on renewed worries about weak earnings from top companies in the region.

Near-bankrupt Greece needs a comprehensive deal on an austerity package to unlock its next tranche of aid before it runs out of cash in mid-November. International lenders have refused to make more concessions on changes to labour laws contested by a junior coalition partner, prolonging the impasse on a reforms package and weighing on the euro.

A Spanish bailout would enable the European Central Bank to buy the country’s bonds. Unless Spain seeks a rescue, sentiment towards the euro is unlikely to turn positive, traders said.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti meets Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday and while little is expected from the meeting, some expect Italy to keep pushing Spain to seek a bailout as it would lower borrowing costs for other peripheral euro zone countries.

“There’s no quick fix for Europe’s problems and even though this week’s European bond auctions and Spanish bond redemption may pass smoothly, the stability will be a mere illusion,” said Kathy Lien, managing director at BK Asset Management in New York. “Spain is in a state of denial about its problems and while current borrowing costs are more manageable, they need to drop below 5 percent to remove the need for a bailout.”

The single currency was down 0.4 percent at $1.2895, not far from a two-week low of $1.2881, with bids from sovereign investors cited at $1.2850. Technical analysts saw support at its 200-day moving average..

The euro bought 102.65 yen, down 0.4 percent and well off a six-month peak reached on Oct. 23.

Traders expect activity will be thin as Hurricane Sandy is expected to slam into the U.S. East Coast later on Monday. U.S. stock and options markets will be closed on Monday, and possibly Tuesday, as regulators, exchanges and brokers worry about the integrity of markets and the safety of employees.

“The market is likely to remain quiet today as many are more focused on personal safety and the safety of their family and property,” said Brad Bechtel, managing director at Faros Trading in Stamford, Connecticut. “I would expect we remain in a sluggish risk tone, meaning U.S. dollar bid and emerging market soft through the remainder of today as there isn’t much to shift the grumpy mood of the market today.”


The dollar bought 79.60 yen, flat on the day and well below Friday’s four-month high.

The BOJ is expected to further ease monetary policy and might make a stronger commitment to keep pumping in cash until its 1 percent annual inflation target is achieved, sources have said.

“BOJ easing expectations were a big factor for markets last week, but are not having much impact this week, with the likely outcome already factored in,” said Masashi Murata, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo.

However, some said the yen could weaken further no matter what the BOJ outcome. Should the central bank even refrain from easing as strongly as the market expects, futures and options market data suggests the yen’s underlying soft trend will remain intact.

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