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Monday February 8, 2010 - 11:30:43 GMT
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FOREX NEWS - Euro recovers vs dollar, euro zone worries remain

6:20am EST

* Euro recovers, dollar dips but euro zone woes remain

* Investors sceptical of G7 assurance on Greece

* IMM data shows speculators increase bets on euro losses

(Updates prices, adds quotes)

By Jessica Mortimer

LONDON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - The euro edged up against the dollar on Monday, recovering after recent losses but still close to multi-month lows on concerns about the fiscal health of some euro zone countries.

Analysts and traders said the euro was helped higher by a very modest recovery in risk appetite, but they said sentiment towards the single currency remained broadly negative and saw its recovery as unconvincing.

Investors were disappointed the weekend Group of Seven meeting did not lead to concrete action to tackle the sovereign debt problems of countries such as Greece, Portugal and Spain.

European ministers told their counterparts at the meeting they would ensure Greece sticks to its budget-cutting plan, but analysts said more was needed to restore confidence the problems would not upset the global economic recovery. [ID:nTOE61702V]

"If equities are in positive territory this will offer some cushion to euro/dollar downside, but it is not a great signal," said Roberto Mialich, currency strategist at Unicredit in Milan.

"As long as EMU fears still loom and there is no strong signal from EU authorities that they will do something to tackle the situation in Greece, Spain and Portugal then euro downside potential will remain," he said.

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed investors increased their bets on further dollar gains in the latest week. Dollar net long positions were at their highest in 11 months while euro short positions jumped close to highs seen after Lehman Brothers collapsed in late 2008. [ID:nN05162244]

For a graphic on euro short positions see here

By 1054 GMT, the euro <EUR=> edged up 0.2 percent on the day to $1.3693, more than a cent above an 8-1/2-month low of $1.3585 hit on trading platform EBS on Friday.

But Mialich said the euro would need to hold above $1.3750 for the rebound to become more convincing.

The single European currency has shed nearly 10 percent from a 15-month high of $1.5145 hit in late November, as jitters about the fiscal problems in Greece spreading to Portugal and then to Spain intensified.

The cost of insuring Greek and Spanish government debt against default fell on Monday but the price of insuring Portuguese debt rose, according to five-year credit default swap prices from monitor CMA DataVision. [GVD/EUR]

The U.S. dollar mostly fell, with the dollar index <.DXY> down 0.3 percent at 80.218. However, it was not far from a high of 80.683 hit on Friday, its strongest since July 2009.


The yen also cut some of its earlier gains, which came as investors looked to buy the low-yielding currency as a safe-haven trade. The dollar <JPY=> rose 0.1 percent to 89.45 yen and the euro <EURJPY=R> was up 0.3 percent at 122.50 yen.

"Euro/dollar and some other riskier currencies are slightly higher, so perhaps we have a little bit of consolidation for now, but it is very much open. The market is looking for what kind of reassurances may come with regard to the euro zone deficit situation and any statements will continue to have an impact," said Johan Javeus, SEB currency analyst in Stockholm.

Among perceived higher-risk currencies, the Australian dollar <AUD=D4> rose 0.1 percent to $0.8679 while the New Zealand dollar <NZD=D4> rose 0.2 percent to $0.6888.

An announcement at the weekend that an Australian miner signed a deal to sell $60 billion of coal to China over 20 years helped sentiment towards the Aussie. [ID:nB229544]

(Reporting by Jessica Mortimer)

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