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Thursday February 11, 2010 - 21:47:19 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Euro falls broadly as Greece deal offers few details


4:32pm EST

* EU ready to help Greece, but offers few details

* Euro briefly falls below $1.36; sentiment still negative

* Australian dollar shines after employment data (Adds comment, updates prices)

By Wanfeng Zhou

NEW YORK, Feb 11 (Reuters) - The euro fell broadly against key currencies on disappointment with the lack of details regarding a European Union deal to support Greece and the possibility this could lead to demands for assistance from other heavily-indebted EU members.

The euro zone currency also dropped against the yen and sterling after European leaders sought to prop up Greece with words of support at a summit on Thursday, but failed to make concrete pledges, describing the promise of support as a "political statement." For details, see [ID:nLDE61A0W2]

"They've come to an agreement that they're going to give Greece moral support basically. They got nothing concrete and everything was kind of murky," said Ronald Simpson, director of currency research at Action Economics in Tampa, Florida.

"In the bigger picture, the European Union can't really do a full-fledged bailout of Greece. That just raises the moral hazard issue," he added. "I think the euro is probably going to remain under pressure for the foreseeable future."

In late trading, the euro <EUR=> was down 0.3 percent at $1.3680, bouncing off a session low at $1.3596 as U.S. stocks rose. The euro climbed as high as $1.3801 earlier, according to Reuters data, following the EU announcement.

Traders are focused on option barriers around $1.3550 and $1.3500, which suggests the euro could fall near those levels.

Concern over the fiscal health of Greece and other peripheral euro zone economies such as Portugal and Spain has pressured the euro in recent weeks, pushing it down nearly 10 percent against the dollar since late 2009. But the currency has found its footing this week on expectations of an aid package.

While the EU deal initially pacified investors, who worried that Greece's problems would spread, some analysts were concerned an agreement could prompt other debt-laden euro zone countries to seek help.

"The EU deal creates a whole new set of problems from a cost perspective," said Boris Schlossberg, director of currency research at GFT in New York.

"The idea here is that if Greece is rescued, then Portugal, Spain and all the other problem economies should also be rescued, and that just opens up a nasty can of worms. The cost of rescuing these economies would be far greater than anyone could imagine," he added.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday the EU has sent a political signal on Greece, but officials will study the situation more closely in March.

A Spanish EU source said Thursday that financial support for Greece should involve help from the euro zone and the European Union as a whole, and a deal is likely to be finalized by Tuesday. [ID:nLDE61A14E]

The euro fell 0.6 percent against the yen to 122.78 yen <EURJPY=R> and lost 1.1 percent to 87.16 pence <EURGBP=>.

Against the yen, the dollar slipped 0.3 percent to 89.72 yen <JPY=>.

The Australian dollar climbed 1.8 percent against the dollar <AUD=D4> and 1.5 percent versus the yen <AUDJPY=R>, buoyed by a bigger-than-expected rise in Australian employment in January, while the jobless rate hit an 11-month low. [ID:nSGE6190O9]

The Aussie dollar later extended its gains after an unexpected slowdown in Chinese consumer inflation in January soothed some concerns about the need for quick monetary tightening by Chinese authorities. [ID:nTOE61706J]

(Additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss) (Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)

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