Euro pressured by debt fears; S&P revises US outlook

NEW YORK - The euro fell broadly on Monday, on increased talk that Greece will be forced to restructure its debt and uncertainty over a bailout for Portugal.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Mon 18 Apr 2011, 7:46 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:18 AM

The single currency pared losses after Standard & Poor’s, while affirming the ‘AAA/A-1+’ sovereign credit rating on the United States, revised their outlook on the long-term rating to negative from stable.. However, the overall pressure on the euro remained intact.

The euro fell to an 11-day low, down over one percent on the day, with the decline gathering pace after German government sources said they expected Greece will not make it through the summer without debt restructuring

“Downward pressure on the euro has been building,” said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotia Capital Markets in Toronto. “Rising periphery concerns combined with building anti-Euro support sentiment have been the key triggers.”

The euro was last at $1.4303 with the session low at $1.4260, according to Reuters data. The euro’s rise has stalled since it hit a 15-month high last week, though market players expect it to be supported by prospects of another rise in euro zone interest rates.

Earlier a Greek newspaper reported that Greece had told the IMF and the European Union earlier this month that it wants to restructure its debt, though it pared losses as a finance ministry source in Athens said the story was untrue.

Players also are watching Portugal’s progress toward a bailout closely after strong gains in a weekend election by an anti-euro party in Finland that has vowed to veto its rescue package.

Analysts doubted the Finnish vote could do more than slow down a bailout but the result of the vote added to negative euro sentiment, encouraging investors to cut long euro positions.

Negative outlook

Standard & Poor’s cited very large budget deficits and rising government indebtedness as the reason for the US ratings downgrade with the path to addressing those issues not being clear. “This is just another reason why investors don’t want to own dollars at this point because not only do we have a very sluggish Federal Reserve and lackluster growth, but one of the major ratings agencies have put the US on negative watch,” said Kathy Lien, director of research at GFT, New York.

“Even though I don’t think an actual downgrade would occur, in this very sensitive or vulnerable time for the US dollar, it’s enough to spook investors from holding or buying U.S. dollars.”

Sovereign demand was reported down to $1.4250, while previous support at the April 6 high of $1.4350 was now seen as resistance.

The euro fell more than 1 percent againt the yen to its lowest in more than two weeks, taking it below its 21-day moving average. It last traded at 118.25, down 1.4 percent.

“The focus is turning towards the Greek situation and is acting as a dampener on the euro,” said Mic Ingenuus, currency strategist at Nordea in Copenhagen. “It would be the first restructuring and the market has no idea when or whether it will happen.”

Euro/yen fell below a cluster of support in the 119.20 yen to 119.30 yen area that coincides with some intraday lows hit earlier in April. A trader for a Japanese bank said the euro could drop towards 115 yen in the near term.

The dollar also hit its lowest in more than two weeks against the yen to around 82.52 yen, before recoving slightly to 82.59 yen, down 0.6 percent on the day.

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