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    OctaFx - Germany sees upswing amid eurozone turmoil
    Ifo index of business optimism indicates Germany economy is picking up speed after slow period




    FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- A key index of business optimism on Friday reinforced what an increasing number of economists are saying: Germany is beginning to see an upswing — even as the rest of the 17-country eurozone struggles with economic and financial turmoil over too much debt.

    The Ifo institute survey of business executives published Friday edged up to 109.9 points from 109.8 the month before, beating market expectations of a slight decline. That follows an unexpected fifth straight monthly rise Wednesday in the ZEW index, which measures the outlook among investment professionals.

    Both are leading indicators, suggesting where the economy might be headed in the next six months. Economists say these and other data mean Germany may now have avoided a recession and this year will easily outpacing the eurozone as a whole, which is expected to shrink 0.3 percent this year.

    Leading economic institutes this week raised their forecast for 2012 to 0.9 percent from a 0.8 percent prediction last fall, and predicted 2 percent growth next year. Some economists now think the economy grew in the first quarter as well, avoiding a second straight quarter of contraction after a slight 0.2 dip in the fourth quarter of last year. Two quarters of falling output is a technical definition of recession.

    Both parts of the Ifo index — estimates of current conditions and expectations for the next six months — were up. Sentiment rose among both industrial firms, which are often oriented toward exports in Germany, and retailers, which depend on domestic demand. Economists say Germany's low unemployment rate of 5.7 percent is giving workers the confidence they need to spend money in stores.

    "The German economy is showing itself to be resilient," said Ifo institute head Hans-Werner Sinn.

    Germany is motoring ahead even as fears worsen about the eurozone debt crisis. Spain and Italy are seeing higher costs to borrow money on bond markets and roll over their debt loads, while their economic growth is sagging. Their troubles — which could mean big losses for shaky banks if governments can't pay — hold out a threat to the European and global economies.

    High borrowing costs and fears of default have already pushed Greece, Ireland and Portugal to seek bailout loans from other eurozone countries. Greece additionally had to ask creditors to write down €107 billion in debt that it could not pay.

    Germany is reaping the benefits of efforts begun in the early 2000s to cut labor costs for businesses — a reform effort that has now been taken up by Spain and Italy but which may need years to bring them higher growth. It is benefiting from its traditional strengths as an exporter of cars and machinery, and growth has been boosted by the recovery in the United States and strong growth in emerging markets such as China.
    Ironically, in some ways the debt crisis has given Germany some help.

    Because of the country's reputation for stability, investors are willing to buy its bonds as safe places to put their money. That means rock-bottom borrowing costs for the government, in contrast to the heavy risk premiums paid by Italy and Spain to borrow — costs that threaten to undermine their budgets and create a self-fulfilling default spiral.

    A two-year bond sold Wednesday cost the German treasury only 0.14 percent interest yield, and a 10-year bond issue from April 11 yielded only 1.77 percent. With inflation at 2.3 percent, Germany's creditors are accepting no return on their lending or even paying for the privilege of lending it money. Rates are also low because the European Central Bank has reduced its benchmark to a lowest-ever 1 percent.

    German economists say those rock-bottom rates are helping lower borrowing costs for companies as well, spurring business investment that is helping fuel the recovery.

    Additionally, the crisis has kept the euro's exchange rate weaker than it otherwise would be, boosting exports. The eight economic institutes who produce a twice-yearly forecast for the government says that means German goods are cheaper in foreign markets than they have been for 30 years.

    The institutes warned however against complacency. They say their economy remains threatened by any wider disaster in the eurozone because 43 percent of its exports go to other eurozone countries — and 20 percent to the five crisis-hit countries, Spain, Italy, Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

    That means a substantial 12.3 percent of Germany's economy is based on trade with the eurozone — suggesting that a financial disaster among neighbors could easily spoil Germany's improving mood.

    Apr 20, 2012 14:09
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    OctaFx - Australian Dollar Sold as CPI Data Confirms Expectations of RBA Rate Cut

    Australian dollars flooded the market as traders unloaded positions in the currency in the face of disappointing CPI data which lent credence to beliefs that the RBA would cut its key interest rate next meeting.

    THE TAKEAWAY: 1Q Australian CPI Rose 0.1% QoQ and 1.6% YoY > Price Increase Fell Short of Analyst Estimates, Sending Traders Scurrying Away from the Aussie Dollar > AUDUSD Dropped

    Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that the nation’s prices rose 0.1 percent in the first quarter of 2012 and rose 1.6 percent since the same time last year. Today’s numbers surprised traders who were anticipating larger figures. Markets expected the quarterly consumer price index (CPI) to rise 0.6 percent and the annual CPI, 2.2 percent.

    Before the release, markets priced in a 94 percent probability that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) would cut its key interest rate by 25 basis points to 4.00 percent. During its April meeting, the RBA noted that monetary policy easing would be possible in the face of moderating inflation, but that it would be “prudent to evaluate [price] data before considering a further policy adjustment.” In light of today’s CPI release and yesterday’s producer price index (PPI) falling short of expectations, an interest rate cut at the next RBA meeting appears very likely.

    In the minutes following the release, AUDUSD dropped from 1.0317 to as low as 1.0255.

    Apr 24, 2012 01:35
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    OctaFx - Stronger U.S. data lift shares, dollar






    OctaFx - Stronger U.S. data lift shares, dollar

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks and the dollar rallied on Tuesday after data showed U.S. manufacturing grew in April at the strongest pace in 10 months, soothing recent worries about the economy.

    Safe-haven Treasuries prices fell, while gold retreated from two-week highs as the data dampened speculation the Federal Reserve would adopt fresh monetary easing measures to boost growth.

    The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indexes soared 1 percent after the Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity rose to 54.8 from 53.4 in March, exceeding expectations of 53.0.

    "The American economy is not as weak as some may perceive, and although it has stagnated a bit here, the American economy is doing very well," said Stephen Massocca, managing director at Wedbush Morgan in San Francisco.

    "The fly in the soup is Europe. You have to keep an eye on these bond markets, and as long as Spain and Italy stay below six percent in terms of bond yields, that is a green light to buy stocks."

    The Dow Jones industrial average (DJI:^DJI) was up 116.02 points, or 0.88 percent, at 13,329.65. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (MXP:^SPX) was up 16.37 points, or 1.17 percent, at 1,414.28. The Nasdaq Composite Index (NAS:^COMP) was up 36.61 points, or 1.20 percent, at 3,082.97.

    The MSCI world equity index (.MIWD00000PUS) gained 0.5 percent to 330.35. Trading was limited with many markets in Asia and Europe closed for the May Day holiday.

    World stocks posted a loss of about 1.5 percent last month as worries about global growth resurfaced after data showed the U.S. economy cooled in the first quarter and the euro zone recession was deepening.

    The weakness has also spread to other countries as the British manufacturing sector barely grew in April, hit by the economic slowdown in the euro zone, while Canada said its economy unexpectedly shrank in February.

    Adding to bullish sentiment were signs of recovery in Chinese manufacturing. China's Purchasing Managers' Index rose to a 13-month high in April, suggesting the world's second-largest economy has found a footing and may be recovering from a first-quarter trough.

    AUSSIE TUMBLES

    The Australian dollar fell nearly 1 percent against its U.S. counterpart after the Reserve Bank of Australia slashed rates by a deeper-than-expected 50 basis points. Domestic government bond yields hit 60-year lows.

    The dollar rose 0.5 percent to 80.18 yen, rebounding from a low of 79.62, its weakest point since February. The stronger yen hit Japan's export-related equities, sending the Nikkei index (NIK:^9452) down 1.8 percent to a 2-1/2-month closing low.
    The euro slipped 0.1 percent to $1.3225, off an earlier one-month high of $1.3283.
    Light volumes were expected before Thursday's European Central Bank meeting, Friday's U.S. non-farm payrolls report and weekend elections in Greece and France.
    Brent crude rose 32 cents to $119.79 a barrel while U.S. crude rallied $1.10 to $105.97.

    Gold inched up to a two-week high and last traded around $1,664 an ounce.
    The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 9/32, with the yield at 1.9488 percent. Benchmark yields, however, are still hovering at their lowest levels in nearly three months.

    May 01, 2012 13:57
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    OctaFx - Dollar gains vs euro, yen as U.S. data allays fears







    OctaFX.Com -Dollar gains vs euro, yen as U.S. data allays fears




    NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar rebounded from a one-month low against the euro and a 2-1/2-month trough versus the yen on Tuesday after a key barometer of the U.S. manufacturing sector showed unexpected strength last month, assuaging concerns the economy was slowing.

    The Institute for Supply Management's factory data bucked the trend of other recent data that suggested the economy was losing steam, prompting traders to rebuild long dollar bets that had grown stale as the economy's outlook weakened.

    "The view on the economy has swung from optimism to pessimism of late and this could bring us back to the middle," said Nick Bennenbroek, head of FX strategy for North America at Wells Fargo in New York. "ISM suggests there's no real reason to get too concerned about the path of the U.S. economy at this point."

    The ISM data, which showed the strongest rate of growth in 10 months, also downplayed recent speculation that the Federal Reserve will embark on a third round of bond buying to bolster the economy, lifting the appeal of the dollar.
    In afternoon New York trading, the euro fell 0.2 percent against the dollar to $1.3218, retreating from a four-week high at $1.3283 hit earlier in the day.

    "Once the euro rally lost momentum that led to massive interest in June euro $1.32 and $1.30 puts," said Matthew Schilling, a commodities brokers at RJO futures in Chicago.

    "Those puts are showing the highest volume that I have seen in a while."
    Investors who buy these puts expect the euro to fall below $1.30 or $1.32 before they expire on June 8.

    Trade was thin, however, with many of Europe's trading centers closed for the May Day holiday. Light volume was expected before Thursday's European Central Bank meeting, Friday's U.S. non-farm payrolls report and weekend elections in Greece and France.

    Against the yen, the dollar recovered from a more than two-month low, rising to a session high at 80.29 yen. It was last at 80.24 yen, up 0.6 percent.
    Front-end volatility in dollar/yen remained under pressure despite the dollar hitting multi-month lows. On Tuesday, one- month volatility was at 8.35 percent, falling as low as 7.76.

    Volatility curves in dollar/yen, however, are positively sloping, with back-month options still higher than short-dated ones - usually reflecting expectations of some stress. Ultimately, however, analysts said long-end volatility should decline as well because it has become expensive for investors to be on such a constant state of alert, given time decay.

    The Australian dollar, meanwhile, was the day's biggest mover, falling sharply after the Reserve Bank of Australia slashed rates by a deeper-than-expected 50 basis points.
    The Aussie fell 0.9 percent to US$1.0334 and slid to a three-month low near 82 yen.

    "The RBA move means we no longer see a cut in June, but data in the coming months will be of particular focus in the wake of this rather unprecedented cut," TD Securities said in a research note.

    May 01, 2012 15:09
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    OctaFX.Com - Greece pressures euro, investors seek safety




    LONDON (Reuters) - The euro neared a three-month low and safe-haven German bonds and the Japanese yen rose on Wednesday as political disarray in Greece and the rising costs of fixing Spain's banks fueled fears the euro zone debt crisis would take a sharp turn for the worse.
    The concerns over Europe added to worries about the impact of softer growth in the U.S. on the global economy to push down European shares. Wall Street was also poised to open lower (.N), oil prices were down for a sixth straight session and the
    commodity-linked Australian dollar hit new lows.

    Spanish 10-year bond yields climbed back above 6 percent - a point away from levels deemed unsustainable - and investors kept a wary eye on Athens, where efforts to form a government were expected to fail, putting its bailout deal in doubt and raising the possibility of Greece being forced out of the euro.

    "The sensitivity to political developments in Greece is largely a reflection that the probability of Greece exiting the euro, posing a significant threat to global financial stability, has increased," Lee Hardman, currency economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ said.

    The euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.2970, closing in on a three-month low near $1.2955 touched on Monday below the $1.30 to $1.35 range it has traded within for most of the year.

    "We still think the euro will head lower with $1.2950 the level to break in the near-term," said Lauren Rosborough, senior FX strategist at Societe Generale, who have a medium-term target of $1.2500.

    The Japanese currency was a big beneficiary of the weaker euro, climbing to a two-and-a-half month high versus the dollar of 79.61 yen as investors sought safety.

    The dollar itself remained supported against a basket of currencies by its own status as a safe haven, with the dollar index (.DXY) up 0.2 percent at 79.943.

    Some analysts argued fears of a Greek exit from the euro were overblown.
    Credit Suisse said while the probability of Greece leaving the euro had risen, the massive implications the move would have for the major nations within the 17-member currency bloc still made it unlikely.

    "We now put a 15 percent probability of Greece leaving the euro, up from a previous estimate of 5 percent," the bank's equity strategists said in a note.

    The key reason this probability remained low was that 70 percent of the country's debt was owned by the official sector, which includes the IMF, the European Central Bank and the EU.

    "If Greece left the Euro-area, then the default on sovereign debt would be worse than that if it stayed in the euro-area."

    SPANISH BANK DRAIN

    Added to the fears over Greece were worries about the cost of cleaning up the Spanish banking system after financial sources told Reuters the government would demand its banks raise around a further 35 billion euros ($45.48 billion) in provisions against loans in their property portfolios.

    The government and the banks in Spain are belatedly recognizing a multi-billion funding gap in the financial system linked to a 2008 property crash that has heightened fears the country may need an international bailout.

    The impact of the cash demand on Spanish banks sent the main euro zone bank index (.SX7E) down 3.3 percent, dragging down the FTSE Eurofirst (.FTEU3) index of top European shares by 1 percent to 1,007.80 points.

    While the escalation in concerns about the euro zone and its potential to be a further drag of global growth pushed the MSCI world equity index (.MIWD00000PUS) down 0.6 percent to 315.79 and near lows last seen in February.

    GERMAN DEBT GAINS

    In the debt markets the fragility of Spain's banking system saw Spanish 10-year government bond yields climb 16 basis points to 6.03 percent, and above the 6 percent mark that could see the rise in yields accelerate if the break is sustained.
    The cost of insuring Spain's debt against default also rose 19 basis points to 512 basis points.

    And with investors fleeing the peripheral euro zone debt markets the German debt market, already offering ultra-low yields, posted new records.
    The key 10-year German government bond set a record low yield of 1.524 percent and the German Bund futures contract hit an all-time high of 142.75.
    The government was able to capitalize on the safe haven demand by selling old four billion euros ($5.2 billion) of new five-year bonds with a record low coupon of 0.5 percent.

    News that exports and imports rose to record monthly levels in March was another signal that Europe's largest economy is fending off the euro zone debt crisis far better than others.

    In commodity markets Brent crude slipped towards $112 a barrel, on track for its longest losing streak in almost two years and U.S. crude was at $96.35, down 66 cents.

    The commodity-linked Australian dollar also fell 0.5 percent to $1.0066, having touched a low of $1.0052 at one point, the lowest level in more than four months. The New Zealand dollar also touched a 4-month low at $0.7842.
    The price of gold fell for a third day, touching a four-month low and all but wiping out its gains for the year.

    "With deflation becoming more of a risk in some parts of the world, like Europe, and the Fed less inclined to do another round of QE3, the inflation hedge argument isn't as strong as it was a couple of months ago," said James Shugg, senior economist at Westpac. ($1 = 0.7695 euros)

    May 09, 2012 10:10
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    OctaFx - Euro clouded by Greece and Spain worry

    LONDON (Reuters) - The euro fell close to a recent three-month low versus the dollar on Wednesday and the safe haven yen rose broadly amid worries over the impact on the euro zone stemming from political turmoil in Greece and the fragility of Spain's banking sector.

    The euro remained under widespread pressure after the leader of Greece's Left Coalition party said on Tuesday that the country's commitment to a European Union/International Monetary Fund rescue deal had become null and void.
    Greece's two main pro-bailout parties failed to win a majority in weekend elections, leaving questions over the country's ability to avert bankruptcy and stay in the euro.
    Added to instability in Greece, French President-elect Francois Hollande has advocated an approach to tackling the debt crisis centered more on growth, which may create tensions with Germany's insistence on fiscal austerity.

    Wednesday's moves suggest the political uncertainty is causing a broader retreat from risky assets. The New Zealand and Australian dollars, both sensitive to shifts in investor risk appetite, hit four-month lows versus the U.S. dollar.
    "We still think the euro will head lower with $1.2950 the level to break in the near-term," said Lauren Rosborough, Senior FX strategist at Societe Generale, who have a medium-term target of $1.2500.
    The euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.2980, closing in on a three-month low near $1.2955 touched on Monday. Technical analysts said the euro had found support on Monday around the 61.8 percent retracement of the it's 2012 rally at $1.2953.
    The euro could fall towards $1.28-$1.29 over the next few weeks, although its drop is expected to be gradual given many investors are already short of the common currency, market players said.

    Options traders said the euro may receive some support because of potential demand for euros related to option barriers at $1.2950 and below. The existence of such barriers means options traders might step in to buy the euro if the currency dips close to those levels.
    Overall however the path for the euro was likely to be down. Added to the threat of a Greek exit from the euro, the bleak outlook for Spain's troubled banking sector continued to spook bond investors, pushing yields on Spanish 10-year bonds back above six percent on Wednesday. (GVD/EUR)
    "In the next four weeks we should know who is controlling Greece, whether or not it runs out of money or chooses to adhere to its bailout terms and how the Spanish government plans to sort out its banking sector," said Kathleen Brooks, Research Director at FOREX.com.

    "There are high levels of market risk associated with all of these events, which we believe is euro negative."

    YEN IN DEMAND

    A souring in investor appetite for risk gave broad support to the low-yielding yen which tends to rise when investors look to park their money in safer assets.
    The euro was down 0.5 percent at 103.35 yen, while the Japanese currency climbed to a two-and-a-half month high versus the dollar of 79.61 yen on trading platform EBS.
    The dollar itself remained supported against a basket of currencies by its own status as a safe haven, with the dollar index (.DXY) up 0.2 percent at 79.943.
    The Australian dollar was down 0.5 percent to $1.0066, having touched a low of $1.0052 at one point, the lowest level in more than four months. The New Zealand dollar also touched a four-month low at $0.7842.
    The Australian dollar fell below 80.20 yen at one point, the lowest level since January.
    Implied option volatilities on Aussie/yen soared to a one-month high above 13 percent as market players scrambled to protect themselves against further declines in the Australian dollar.

    May 09, 2012 11:02
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    OctaFX.Com -Merkel says euro zone must stick to reform pledges



    BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed on Wednesday that the euro zone must stick to previously agreed reforms on budget discipline.

    Merkel is facing increased calls in the crisis-stricken euro zone to ease up on tough fiscal measures that have deepened a recession in peripheral countries such as Greece and to make reviving economic growth a bigger political priority.
    "We both concur that in the euro zone we must stick to the program and the rules that have been agreed," Merkel told a joint news conference with Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Jansa.

    Echoing Merkel's tough line, Jansa said: "There is no 'either-or' when it comes to stability or economic growth. ... Such growth should not lead to higher public debts, which would not be good for future generations."
    Slovenia is a member of the euro zone.

    May 09, 2012 12:01
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    OctaFx -Greek contagion fears send euro, shares lower


    LONDON (Reuters) - Fears that a Greek exit from the euro zone will worsen the debt crisis facing other European nations gripped financial markets on Wednesday, sending shares and other riskier assets lower as investors shifted funds into safe havens like the U.S. dollar.

    The euro dipped below $1.27 to a four-month low, the main index of top European shares, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 (.FTEU3), touched its lowest level for 2012, while U.S. stock futures pointed to a weak day on Wall Street.

    The probability that Greece will leave the single currency rose markedly after political leaders in Athens failed on Tuesday to form a government, forcing another round of elections. Opinion polls show this is likely to be won by leftist parties opposed to the country's bailout deal.

    In response, markets have moved to price in a Greek exit from the 17-member bloc, but are uncertain about the impact this will have on the rest of the region, while big investors have largely retreated to the sidelines, adding to the volatility.
    "The idea that you can contain the spillover, the contagion, into the likes of Portugal, the likes of Spain, I just don't see that as being feasible," said James Ashley, senior European economist at RBC Capital Markets.

    Peripheral euro zone sovereign bonds have taken the brunt of the selling pressure as some investors withdraw to safe havens like German government debt. Price moves were most pronounced in the market for insuring bonds against a potential default.
    The Italian five-year Credit Default Swap (CDS) was 16 basis point (bpts) higher at 510 bpts in European morning trade, while the Spanish 5-year CDS widened 4.5 bpts to hit an all time peak of 546 bpts.

    In the cash market moves were less dramatic, with 10-year Spanish bond yields easing to 6.35 percent after making big gains on Tuesday. The Italian equivalent debt was little changed at 6.01 percent.

    The yield spread of all major emerging sovereign bonds over safer U.S. Treasuries however widened to be near 3-1/2-month highs of 386 basis points.
    "The re-weighted probability of Greece leaving EMU has led to a sharp widening of government bond spreads, suggesting that long-term capital is leaving the periphery of Europe," Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients.
    There were also signs in Athens that the prospect of a rapid devaluation of any new currency if the country leaves the euro was concerning ordinary Greeks.
    Central bank head George Provopoulos told political leaders savers had withdrawn at least 700 million euros ($894 million) from the nation's banks on Monday.
    The euro dropped to $1.2681 against the dollar putting it on track to test the January low of $1.2624, below which would mark the euro's lowest level since August 2010.
    "The bias is still for a lower euro and a $1.26 target for mid-year looks pretty appropriate" said Jeremy Stretch, head of currency strategy at CIBC.
    The dollar rose to its highest in four months against a basket of currencies (.DXY), while the euro also hit a three-month low versus the yen.

    GROWTH IMPACT

    The potential for a "disorderly" outcome, either directly from Greece leaving the euro or as related contagion worsens the already stagnant euro zone economy, has sent tremors through world equity and commodity markets.
    Emerging market stocks as measured by the MSCIEF index (.MSCIEF) plunged 2.58 percent, with the index close to erasing all its year-to-date gains on its way to posting its biggest one-day loss in six months.
    Weakness in Asian share markets sparked by the Greek crisis have already pushed MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> down 3.3 percent to a four-month low.

    MSCI's global equity index <.MIWD00000PUS> was down 0.9 percent to 304.95 and is now up less than 2 percent for the year to date.

    European shares were hit by a broad-based sell-off, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index (.FTEU3) down 0.7 percent to 990.54 points, having also dropped 0.7 percent on Tuesday.

    Spain's IBEX 35 (.IBEX) fell 0.5 percent while Italy's FTSE MIB (.FTMIB) weakened by 1.7 percent.

    Oil prices slid along with world shares and industrial commodities like copper in the general move away from riskier assets, but its fall was accentuated by a surprise build in U.S. crude inventories.
    Brent crude was down $1.21 at $111.03 a barrel and U.S. oil was down $1.52 to $92.46 a barrel.

    Brent crude oil fell to $110.82 cents a barrel and gold extended its losses to be down $13.34 at $1,530.76 an ounce, its weakest level since late December.
    Gold gained nothing from flows into safe havens and fell for a fourth straight day to its lowest since late December as investors sold the precious metal to profit from the strength in the U.S. dollar.

    Spot gold was down 0.6 percent at $1,534.54 an ounce, having dropped by nearly 3.8 percent in the last four days - its longest stretch of consecutive losses in nearly five months.

    May 16, 2012 07:31
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    OctaFx - Euro knocked by Greece worries, more losses likely

    LONDON (Reuters) - The euro fell to a four-month low against the dollar on Wednesday and risked more losses on the prospect of prolonged political instability in Greece that could result in the country exiting the euro.

    With Greece announcing fresh elections next month and investors concerned about the knock-on effects of a Greek euro exit for economies like Spain and Italy, investors fled the euro and sought the perceived safety of the dollar and the yen.
    The dollar rose to its highest in four months against a basket of currencies, while the euro also hit a three-month low versus the yen.

    The euro dropped to $1.2681 against the dollar on EBS trading platform, which left it on track to test the January low of $1.2624, below which would mark the euro's lowest level since August 2010.

    However, it recovered to last trade at $1.2710, with traders wary of investors taking profit on hefty short euro positions which could send it temporarily higher. So far this month, the common currency has lost more than 4 percent of its value.

    "There is a degree of magnetic attraction to the January low, but we may see a little squeeze higher before that," said Jeremy Stretch, head of currency strategy at CIBC.
    "The bias is still for a lower euro and a $1.26 target for mid-year looks pretty appropriate".

    The euro also fell to 101.904 yen before recovering to 102.18 yen.
    Traders cited euro buying by hedge funds and institutional investors, but they said the broader trend for euro weakness remained intact.
    Greek political leaders will meet on Wednesday to form a caretaker government to lead the country into its second election, likely in mid-June, after the failure of last-ditch negotiations to form a technocrat government.

    "The uncertainty around the political situation in Greece continues to undermine risk appetite, which is affecting a range of currencies," said Paul Robson, currency strategist at RBS.
    "There is uncertainty around the willingness of the euro zone paymasters to keep a country in the euro if it doesn't like fiscal austerity. It seems unlikely that Greece can back out of austerity and stay in the euro."

    STERLING FALLS

    Sterling underperformed other currencies after the Bank of England issued a weaker growth outlook in its quarterly inflation report while governor Mervyn King warned the turmoil in the euro zone posed a risk to the UK economy.
    This helped the euro recover from a 3-1/2 year low against the UK pound, which also fell to a four-week low versus the dollar of $1.5889.

    The dollar was broadly stronger as Greece worries left investors inclined to shun riskier currencies, with the dollar index (.DXY) rising to 81.573, its highest since mid-January.
    It also performed well against the yen, rising to a two-week high of 80.45, roughly one yen above the 2-1/2 month low of 79.428 yen hit last week, and hit a four-month high against the Swiss franc of 0.9471 francs.

    Risk aversion and worries about slowing global growth weighed on higher-yielding currencies like the Australian and New Zealand dollars, which fell to five-month lows against the U.S. dollar.

    May 16, 2012 08:50
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    OctaFX.Com -U.S. stocks rise on data, euro turns on Greek hope



    NEW YORK (Reuters) - The euro pared losses and bond prices slid on Wednesday after comments by German Chancellor Angela Merkel bolstered hopes that Greece would remain in the euro zone, while U.S. stocks rose on encouraging U.S. economic data.

    U.S. industrial production posted its fastest growth in over a year in April and a rebound in groundbreaking for new U.S. homes last month suggested a recovery in U.S. housing was gaining some traction, bolstering U.S. investor sentiment that has been heavily hit by news about Greece.

    Industrial output grew 1.1 percent, the most since December 2010 and nearly twice the pace expected by analysts polled by Reuters. Housing starts increased 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 717,000 units, while March's starts were revised upward.

    "Nice to see some turnaround. Ideally supply is getting more in line with demand, and low (interest) rates may be finally helping the turnaround," David Carter, chief investment officer at Lenox Wealth Advisors in New York, said about housing.
    "However, this housing story is much smaller than news out of Greece and might get
    easily forgotten," Carter said.

    Stocks on Wall Street opened higher, while equity markets in Europe pared much of an early sell-off.

    The Dow Jones industrial average (DJI:^DJI - News) was up 38.52 points, or 0.30 percent, at 12,670.52. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (MXP:^GSPC - News) was up 6.00 points, or 0.45 percent, at 1,336.66. The Nasdaq Composite Index (NAS:^COMP) was up 10.66 points, or 0.37 percent, at 2,904.42.
    The FTSEurofirst 300 index (.FTEU3) fell 0.2 percent to 997.22.

    MSCI's global equity index <.MIWD00000PUS> was down 0.4 percent to 306.53.
    Prices on German government Bund bond futures fell to a session low, while Spanish and Italian bond yields eased, with traders citing comments from Merkel reiterating that Germany wanted Greece to stay in the euro zone.
    Bund futures fell to 143.11, and the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 11/32 in price to yield 1.81 percent.

    Both Bunds and U.S. Treasuries have safe-haven appeal and their prices rise when investors become jittery.
    The euro climbed to a session high against the dollar expectations that Germany and France will act together to keep Greece in the euro zone after Merkel met French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday. .

    The euro pared losses to trade near break-even at $1.2725. The dollar (.DXY) rose 0.2 percent to 81.359 , its highest in four months against a basket of currencies.
    Oil prices slid, accentuated by a surprise build in U.S. crude inventories.

    May 16, 2012 13:58
    OctaFX.Com News Updates






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