Euro holds gains after rebound but resistance looms

SYDNEY/TOKYO - The euro held onto its recent gains on Friday on budding hopes that Ireland is near a deal to shore up its banks and budget deficit, although the currency stopped short of breaking above major resistance.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Fri 19 Nov 2010, 4:38 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:48 AM

The euro also got a marginal boost after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave a full-throated defence against criticism of the bank’s controversial bond-buying programme, showing no signs of backing away from implementing the plan.

But analysts warned that the euro was not out of the woods yet with Ireland’s debt troubles threatening to spill over to other highly indebted peripheral euro zone countries such as Portugal.

There is also uncertainty whether China will adopt more stringent measures to keep a lid on inflation, including a drastic rise in key interest rates.

The euro was clinging to most of the gains built up since bouncing from Tuesday’s seven-week low, trading at $1.3640, flat on the day and up more than 1 percent from Tuesday’s trough around $1.3446.

“I feel that the worst for the euro is over,” said a trader at a U.S. bank. With its fall to a seven-week low, the euro had given back half of its gains from late August to Nov. 4.

“The last time the euro was in an adjustment, in August, it rebounded after achieving a 50 percent retracement,” the trader added.

The single currency still needs to get above resistance at $1.3750/1.3785, however, to put an end to the downward correction of the last couple of weeks.


Against the Japanese currency, the euro was near 114.00 yen, recovering from a fall to 112.23 yen on Tuesday.

Upbeat U.S. economic data, including a drop in a closely watched gauge of jobless benefits to a two-year low, helped to lift the dollar to a six-week high of 83.79 yen on Thursday.

It last traded at 83.49 yen, finding the going tough around the session high of 83.66, which also represents a 61.8 percent retracement of the September to November fall.

The top end of a cloud on the daily ichimoku chart, which serves as resistance, is at 83.68 yen, although a convincing break above that could see the dollar retest 84.20 before reclaiming 85.94 yen, highs last seen in mid-September.

Sparking hopes of imminent aid for Ireland’s shattered banks, central bank governor Patrick Honohan said he expected Dublin to receive tens of billions of euros in loans from European partners and the IMF to provide stand-by funds.

“It feels like we’re getting closer to some sort of resolution ... so that’s certainly seen euro get a better tone,” said Grant Turley, strategist at ANZ.

“People are waiting to see what shape or form the package might entail.”

Healthy bids for Spanish bonds at a sale on Thursday further helped to settle nerves, triggering a rally in European and U.S. stocks. It pushed Wall Street’s favourite pulse of investor anxiety, the CBOE Volatility Index, down nearly 14 percent.

Fed chairman Bernanke also reiterated the case for the Fed to act now in the text of a speech for delivery to a conference at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt later in the day. The text was released ahead of his scheduled Friday appearance.

While there was little surprising in Bernanke’s comments, some traders said they helped to push down the dollar as they showed no signs of budging on quantitative easing despite growing frustration over the policy both at home and abroad.

Improved risk sentiment helped commodity prices to recover from a recent fall and gave commodity currencies such as the Australian dollar a shot in the arm.

But a fall in Chinese shares amid policy tightening fears undermined the Australian dollar, which fell 0.5 percent on the day to $0.9850.

Although it is still up more than 1 percent from this week’s low of $0.9725, it is some 3 percent below a 28-year peak around $1.0183 set earlier in the month.

Against the yen, it fell 0.5 percent to 82.30 yen.

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