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Wednesday June 30, 2010 - 20:50:10 GMT
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FOREX NEWS - Euro rises as bank fears ease; down sharply in Q2

4:40pm EDT

* Banks borrow 131.9 bln euros from ECB, less than expected * Swiss franc falls as Hungary plans new IMF deal * U.S. private sector adds fewer jobs than expected (Updates prices, adds quarterly changes and other details)

By Wanfeng Zhou

NEW YORK, June 30 (Reuters) - The euro rose across the board on Wednesday after banks borrowed less money than expected from the European Central Bank, soothing concerns over European banks' funding issues.

The tender results were keenly awaited as a gauge of how reliant European banks are on ECB emergency funding. Spanish, Portuguese and Greek banks have been the biggest users of the facilities.

Gains in the euro were limited after Moody's Investors Service said it may cut Spain's Aaa sovereign debt ratings on deteriorating economic growth prospects. [ID:nN30242422]

Despite Wednesday's bounce, the euro remains on track for a loss of 9.5 percent this quarter, the third straight quarterly decline. The single currency hit a four-year low around $1.1875 on June 7.

"The much less-than-expected requirement for ECB funding is significant, as it suggests that difficulties throughout euro-zone financial institutions were not as bad as originally feared," said Jamie Heighway, a market analyst at Custom House, a Western Union company, in Victoria, British Columbia.

"Clearly, (it's) a relief for investors, at least over the short term," he added.

The ECB lent banks 131.9 billion euros ($161.4 billion) in three-month funds, well below expectations of demand of 210 billion euros, according to a Reuters poll. Banks face the repayment of close to half a trillion euros in 12-month funds on Thursday. [ID:nLDE65T0VB]

The euro hit a session high of $1.2304 EUR=, according to Reuters data, rebounding from a two-week low hit on Tuesday. It last traded at $1.2228, up 0.4 percent.

The single European currency also rose 1.2 percent against sterling EURGBP=.

Flows related to the end of the month, quarter and half year affected price movements in thin trade, traders said.

Against the yen, the euro was up 0.2 percent at 107.82 yen EURJPY=,after hitting an 8 1/2-year low on Tuesday.

For the quarter, the euro is down 14.4 percent against the yen and down 7.4 percent versus the Swiss franc EURCHF=

"The euro has a long way to go in attempting to buck the current downtrend," Heighway said.

The euro needs to first test trendline resistance around $1.2360 before any chance of taking out the $1.24 figure and beyond, he added.

RISK STAYS HIGH

Against the yen, the dollar fell 0.1 percent to 88.44 JPY= after a report showing U.S. private employers added a paltry 13,000 jobs in June raised concerns about the outlook for the U.S. economy. [ID:nWEN6511]. The pair lost 5.4 percent in the second quarter.

The U.S. government's closely watched monthly non-farm payrolls data will be released on Friday.

"The downside surprise will be seen as taking away from any upside non-farm payroll surprise and is consistent with a labor market that is lethargic at best, moribund at worst," said Alan Ruskin, head of currency strategy at RBS Global Banking & Markets in Stamford, Connecticut.

Investors were also cautiously watching events in Europe that could pose a risk for the single currency, including the German presidential election on Wednesday. [ID:nLDE65R0BY]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's candidate for president won Wednesday's vote in a third round ballot after rebels in her coalition twice failed to give Merkel the absolute majority she needed to boost her fortunes. [ID:nLDE65T2F9]

The Swiss franc earlier fell versus the euro after Hungary said it was eyeing a new standby loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund for 2011. The move alleviated some concerns about Hungary's large stock of franc-denominated debt. [ID:nBUD005390]

The euro was last little changed at 1.3183 francs EURCHF= after hitting a lifetime low of 1.3165 on electronic trading platform EBS on Tuesday. (Additional reporting by Nick Olivari; Editing by Jan Paschal)

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