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Tuesday February 16, 2010 - 11:31:01 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Euro recovers vs dollar, helped by ZEW

RPT-FOREX-Euro recovers vs dollar, helped by ZEW

6:18am EST

(Repeats without changes)

* Euro recovers vs dollar; traders eye Ecofin meeting

* German ZEW falls but comes in above forecast

* Greek uncertainty caps gains as EU ministers press Greece

(Updates with ZEW, fresh quote; updates prices)

By Jessica Mortimer

LONDON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - The euro recovered some of its recent losses against the dollar on Tuesday, helped by an above-forecast German survey and as investors concluded much of the bad news on Greece's public finances was priced in for now.

German analyst and investor sentiment measured by the ZEW index fell for the fifth month running in February, coming in at 45.1, down from 47.2 in January but much better than expectations for a bigger fall to 42.0. [ID:nDEG005625]

Uncertainty that Greece's debt problems will be resolved quickly kept sentiment towards the single currency broadly negative, however, and traders said it remained vulnerable to further falls.

"The (ZEW) outturn was not as bad as expected, the index remains above its long-run average and the fact that it is still in positive territory means that investors see conditions improving," said Jennifer McKeown, senior economist at Capital Economics.

Euro zone states urged Greece on Monday to take further steps to control its budget deficit by mid-March if needed, but did not elaborate on last week's European Union pledge to support the country. [ID:nLDE61E29L]

Traders said Monday's statements did little to instil confidence that Greece's problems will be resolved soon, and investors will be watching for any developments as European Union finance ministers meet on Tuesday. [ID:nLDE61F0XT]

At 1105 GMT, the euro <EUR=> was up 0.4 percent on the day against the dollar at $1.3647. It remained weak but so far this week has stayed above Friday's nine-month low of $1.3532.

Lauren Rosborough, currency analyst at Westpac said the euro was seeing "a bit of a relief rally" as the market had no further impetus to sell euro/dollar, but it remained highly sensitive to any more negative news on Greece.

The euro has shed nearly 10 percent against the dollar since late 2009 on worries over the fiscal health of Greece and other euro zone countries, such as Portugal. Such concerns are expected to keep the euro under pressure.

"Markets are in a state of fatigue at the moment. There is a lack of fresh news and what news there is has already been priced in," said UBS currency strategist Geoffrey Yu.

The dollar index <.DXY> <=USD> was down 0.2 percent at 80.153, below a seven-month high of 80.748 hit late last week.


The latest data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed currency speculators ran up a record short euro position in the week to Feb. 9. [ID:nN12122806]

"The market had sold the euro up to their chins before the meeting (of finance ministers), and some people are moving to trim those positions," said a senior trader for a Japanese bank in Tokyo, though he added that euro gains looked "very fragile".

Traders said the euro was also helped higher against the U.S. dollar in tandem with the Australian dollar and other perceived riskier currencies after Australia's central bank signalled further gradual raise rates. [ID:nSYC002309]

However, the euro earlier fell to a decade low against the Australian dollar <EURAUD=> while the Aussie <AUD=D4> hit its highest in more than two weeks versus the U.S. dollar - $0.8966.

Against the yen, the euro <EURJPY=R> gained 0.4 percent to 122.83 yen, while the dollar <JPY=> was steady at 89.93 yen.

(Additional reporting by Satomi Noguchi in Tokyo)

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