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Tuesday September 7, 2010 - 10:39:38 GMT
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FOREX NEWS - Euro slides, Europe banking issues in focus

6:17am EDT

* Euro takes a hit as Europe banking concerns rekindled

* Yen, Swiss franc rally on growing risk aversion

* Aussie hits day's low after PM secures minority govt

(Adds comment, detail, updates prices)

By Naomi Tajitsu

LONDON, Sept 7 (Reuters) - The euro fell broadly on Tuesday after rekindled concerns about the European banking sector prompted investors to sell higher-risk currencies.

The yen and the Swiss franc rallied, supported by their safe-haven appeal after a Wall Street Journal report highlighting the shortcomings of European bank stress tests earlier this year spurred risk aversion.

The report came after Germany's banking association said on Monday the country's 10 biggest banks may need 105 billion euros of additional capital under revamped rules. [ID:nLDE6850Q9]

Worries about the banking sector also widened yield spreads between peripheral euro zone government bonds and their German counterparts -- considered the safest in the euro zone -- with Portuguese and Irish spreads widening on Tuesday.

The cost of insuring those countries' debt against default also rose, further chilling demand for the single currency.

"For the moment, the news about the German banks and the stress tests will weigh on risk appetite," said Sven Schubert, currency analyst at Credit Suisse in Zurich.

"But concerns about the tests were already known, so the impact may be short-lived."

By 0933 GMT, the euro EUR= had fallen nearly 1 percent on the day to a session low of $1.27560. It retreated from $1.2920 hit on Monday, its highest in nearly three weeks.

"We've seen the euro's correction since June take it to the $1.30 region, and people are getting worried about more negative news about the euro zone banking sector in the third and fourth quarter," said Chris Turner, currency strategist at ING.

Still, further losses were limited on Tuesday due to broad demand for euros below $1.28, with traders saying central banks were picking up the single currency at the day's low.

The euro's losses helped push the dollar .DXY 0.6 percent higher versus a currency basket to 82.545, recovering from a slide to its weakest in more than three weeks on Monday.


Against the yen, the single currency EURJPY=R fell 1.2 percent on the day to 107.10 yen.

The Japanese currency rallied across the board, pushing the dollar JPY= down 0.3 percent to 83.72 yen, near a 15-year trough of 83.58 yen touched last month.

The yen hit the day's high after Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said monetary authorities could not control forex rates, increasing speculation Japan was not preparing to act to stem yen strength at the moment. [ID:nTOE68606B]

"(Shirakawa) has essentially ruled out intervention in the near term," CitiFXWire analysts said in a client note adding that the statement helped to encourage yen bulls.

Shirakawa's comments followed the BOJ's decision to hold off from additional monetary policy easing. [ID:nTOE68602K]

Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said the government would take firm action on currencies when needed, adding that recent moves were clearly one-sided. [ID:nTKX006976]

Analysts said the difference in stance between the government and the central bank clearly put the onus on the government to take decisive action to rein in yen strength.

The market's focus on risk aversion also boosted the Swiss franc, pushing the euro EURCHF= 0.8 percent lower to 1.2920 francs. The dollar CHF= was down 0.2 percent at 1.0128 francs.

The Australian dollar hit the day's low of $0.9094 AUD=D4 after Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard secured a minority government. [ID:nSGE6850I3]

It initially gained as the deal ended weeks of uncertainty, but its rally was fleeting and the Aussie suffered on speculation the government would press ahead with a mining tax.

(Editing by Nigel Stephenson)

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