Euro slides, risk aversion boosts dollar, yen

LONDON - The dollar extended gains on Wednesday, denting the euro and sterling as struggling global share prices cut demand for currencies considered to be high-risk.

By (Reuters)

Published: Wed 15 Apr 2009, 2:57 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:28 AM

Weak U.S. retail sales figures released on Tuesday stung stock markets, prompting a pullback of equity gains made in the past month on growing optimism the global economic downturn may have hit a trough.

“We’re seeing a bit of profit taking in risk in general, and that’s feeding into dollar strength against the euro and sterling, and that could last a bit longer,” said Martin McMahon, currency strategist at Credit Suisse in Zurich.

The euro and sterling hovered around session lows in early European trade as regional shares fell 0.8 percent in early trade.

Analysts added market participants were anticipating first-quarter earnings reports from U.S. financial giants JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup due later this week.

While strong results from Goldman Sachs earlier this week raised hopes U.S. banks are recuperating from the financial sector meltdown, evidence of ongoing weakness in other banks may be taken as a cue to keep selling risky assets.

An announcement by Swiss bank UBS on Wednesday that it would cut an additional 8,700 jobs underlined the continuing fragility of global financial institutions due to the global financial crisis

By 0746 GMT, the euro had slipped around 0.3 percent to a session low around $1.3205. Against the yen, the single European currency slipped 0.7 percent to 130.19 yen.

Sterling traded 0.4 percent lower at $1.4838, and the U.S. currency’s broad gains pushed its value against a basket of currencies up 0.3 percent to 85.061.

The dollar slipped 0.2 percent to 98.55 yen, as the Japanese currency also gained across the board due to decreasing risk demand.

U.S. Data Ahead

Risk aversion has boosted the dollar and the yen in past sessions as both currencies are seen to be safer investment destinations than their UK and single European counterparts, as well as high-yielding currencies including the New Zealand and Australian dollars.

Traders in Tokyo said the euro also faced selling pressure from market talk Japanese investors may repatriate funds invested in euro zone government bonds, as uncertainty about the global economic outlook makes them more conservative.

Market participants awaited a barrage of U.S. economic data later in the day, including readings of U.S. consumer prices, as well as the New York Federal Reserve’s Empire State Survey and the U.S. central bank’s Beige Book of regional economic conditions.

Also due on Wednesday are figures on U.S. earnings, capital flows, industrial production and the housing market.

While sombre economic figures could give fresh support to the dollar and yen in the short term, analysts said there were concerns the dollar could be harmed by the Federal Reserve’s buying of government bonds to keep long-term interest rates down.

“Increased money supply has been one of the major factors weighing on the dollar against the yen,” said Toru Umemoto, chief FX strategist at Barclays Capital in Japan.

“Concerns over the dollar are expected to mount as fiscal conditions in the United States deteriorate.”

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