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Tuesday January 19, 2010 - 11:53:31 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Euro falls on weak ZEW; sterling shines

6:43am EST

* Euro falls after weak German ZEW, hits 4-mth low vs pound

* Sterling gains on UK inflation data, M&A; BoC eyed

* Dlr, euro hit 1-mth low vs yen as JAL files for bankruptcy

By Jessica Mortimer

LONDON, Jan 19 (Reuters) - The euro fell broadly on Tuesday, hitting a four-month low against sterling and a one-month low against the yen on the back of a weak German sentiment survey and ongoing concerns about the state of Greek public finances.

German analyst and investor sentiment fell more than expected in January to its lowest level since July, with the ZEW economic sentiment index dropping to 47.2 from 50.4 in December, below forecasts for a reading of 49.5. [ID:nDEP003284]

The news pushed the single currency to its weakest in more than a week against the dollar.

The euro's biggest falls, though, were against sterling, which was boosted by a rise in UK inflation and M&A news as U.S.-based Kraft Foods Inc <KFT.N> was reported to be close to a takeover of Cadbury Plc <CBRY.L> [ID:nN04110564] [ID:nONS004728]

"The market has reacted to the ZEW data and the euro has moved lower, but we are still in a very technically driven market, with price action driven by day-to-day news," said Peter Wuyts, currency strategist at KBC in Brussels.

He added that worries about Greece were also "capping the topside" in euro/dollar as European Union ministers kept pressure on Athens to repair its public finances. [ID:nLDE60I0JC]

By 1120 GMT, the euro fell 0.5 percent against the dollar to $1.4314 <EUR=>, having hit a low of $1.4303, its lowest in more than a week.

Against sterling, the single currency <EURGBP=D4> fell to a four-month low of 87.30 pence, while the pound <GBP=D4> hit a six-week high against the dollar of $1.6459.

"The story is still one of a soft euro, but sterling is really taking the limelight at the moment," said Niels Christensen, FX strategist at Nordea in Copenhagen.


The euro also hit a one-month low against the yen <EURJPY=R> of 129.87 yen, while the dollar <JPY=> fell as low as 90.32 yen, its weakest since Dec. 21, according to Reuters data.

Traders said the bankruptcy of Japan Airlines <9205.T> may lead to yen repatriation as the company may have to liquidate some of its dollar-buying derivative contracts or repatriate overseas assets, helping the currency. [ID:nSGE60I077]

The dollar index, a gauge of the greenback's performance against six other major currencies, gained 0.3 percent to 77.365 <.DXY>.

The Australian dollar fell 0.5 percent to $0.9214 <AUD=D4> after the result of a bill auction by the Chinese central bank sparked renewed worries over a stepping up of tightening, traders said. [ID:nTOE60I03B]

"The action itself is not necessarily negative for growth, but Asian stocks, especially Australian shares, are reacting sensitively to the move due to their strong economic ties and their recent gains have been heavily capped," said Hideki Amikura, deputy general manager of the forex section at Nomura Trust Bank in Tokyo.

The Canadian dollar fell 0.2 percent to C$1.0287 <CAD=D4> ahead of a Bank of Canada rate decision later in the session, where it is widely expected to hold fire. [ID:nN15201393]

Investors will watch for the bank's tone on the issue of a strengthening Canadian dollar, with analysts saying that the possibility of central bank rhetoric on this subject may make the market wary of pushing the Canadian currency up too much.

(Additional reporting by Satomi Noguchi in Tokyo; editing by Patrick Graham)

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