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Monday August 17, 2009 - 11:14:35 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Euro, high-yielders fall on weaker stocks, oil

Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:52am EDT

* Euro falls, hits 2-week low vs yen, struggles vs dollar

* Europe shares, oil prices stumble, denting risk demand

* Japan Q2 GDP rises 0.9 pct qtr/qtr

(Adds comment, details, updates throughout, previous TOKYO)

By Naomi Tajitsu

LONDON, Aug 17 (Reuters) - The euro hit a two-week low against the dollar and the yen on Monday after weak global shares and oil prices ruined traders' appetite for risk and battered currencies seen to be high-risk.

The yen rallied across the board, while the higher-yielding Australian and New Zealand dollars retreated from 10-month highs they hit against the U.S. dollar last week.

Figures showed Japan's economy grew in the second quarter, pulling out of recession, but analysts said the yen's gains were driven more by risk aversion than the data.

Growth figures last week showed France and Germany have also pulled out of recession, in more signs that the global economy is on the mend, though some analysts said stocks markets had largely discounted such improvement.

"U.S. equity valuations are key," said Rob Minikin, senior currency strategist at Standard Chartered, adding that movements in stock markets were a dominant driver of currencies on Monday.

"The rebound in the S&P has been its fastest since post-war (World War Two) ... and so people are getting nervous that things have come too far too fast." Risk demand was stung as Chinese stocks extended losses early in the day, and analysts said investors would likely continue cutting long positions in risky assets and buy the yen and the dollar back if other asset markets continue to struggle.

By 1044 GMT, the euro EUR= had fallen 1 percent to the day's low of $1.4051, according to Reuters data.

Against the yen EURJPY=R, it fell 1.4 percent to 132.96 yen, its lowest level since late July.

European shares and U.S. stock futures SPv1 both fell around 2 percent on the day, while oil prices fell nearly 3 percent to a two-week low.


Broad yen gains pushed the dollar JPY= down to 94.38 yen according to electronic trading platform EBS, its weakest in roughly two weeks.

Some analysts said coupon payments on U.S. Treasuries worth $20-25 billion on Monday were helping put selling pressure on dollar/yen although they added that losses would be fleeting.

The Australian and the New Zealand dollar both fell 1.5 percent against the yen and the dollar. Versus the dollar, the two currencies retreated from their highest levels since autumn.

The dollar index .DXY rose to 79.469 compared with 78.885 late on Friday.

Market participants said investors remained cowed after U.S. data late last week showed consumer confidence fell in August for the second consecutive month, reviving concern about the U.S. economic turnaround. [ID:nN14304812].

Data showing Japan's economy grew for the first time in five quarters in the April-June period did little to help weak sentiment, even as the economy expanded 0.9 percent on the quarter to end its longest recession in decades on the back of exports and government stimulus spending. [ID:nT212505]

Analysts say the road to sustainable recovery will be long. Traders say the data are positive but in line with expectations.

(Editing by Lin Noueihed)

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