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Thursday September 23, 2010 - 20:46:06 GMT
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FOREX NEWS - Growth worries hit euro; dollar outlook still grim

4:22pm EDT

* Euro stung by Ireland bank woes but still in uptrend

* Dollar falls vs yen on unexpected rise in jobless claims

* Dollar touches lowest vs yen since BOJ intervention (Adds details, updates prices)

By Steven C. Johnson

NEW YORK, Sept 23 (Reuters) - The euro retreated from a five-month high against the dollar on Thursday, hobbled by worries about Ireland's economy and banks, while the yen hit its lowest against the dollar since last week's intervention.

Data showing Ireland's economy shrank 1.2 percent in the second quarter slowed the euro's upward momentum as it highlighted the struggles the country faces as it tries to shore up a troubled banking sector. For more, see [ID:nLDE68M11D]

A separate report showing euro zone growth slowed in September also took some shine off the euro, which traded down 0.6 percent at $1.3320 EUR=, off Wednesday's five-month high of $1.3440. [ID:nSLAMKE6DH]

Selling from Asian accounts pushed the currency lower after it broke $1.34 in Europe but on the charts it was still in an uptrend, trading above its $1.3208 200-day moving average.

But solid support was seen around $1.3265, "and as long as we hold above it we're probably taking a breather here and sooner or later will have a go at (Wednesday's) high," said Andrew Chaveriat, technical strategist at BNP Paribas.

While the euro looks overbought on a daily chart, Chaveriat said the weekly chart is telling a different story, which could provide the momentum to target $1.3510.

"Overbought signals on the daily chart may be scaring short-term traders into taking some profits, but longer-term traders don't seem too concerned yet," he said.

The euro also slipped 0.7 percent against sterling to 84.93 pence EURGBP= and 0.8 percent to 112.33 yen EURJPY=.

Uncertainty over the cost of propping up Ireland's banking sector triggered concerns the country is on the edge of a debt crisis that could drag down other euro zone economies. [ID:nLDE68L1Y4]

Pessimism about Ireland pushed the gap between 10-year Irish and German government bonds to their widest level ever.


The dollar fell 0.2 percent to 84.26 yen, its lowest since the Bank of Japan intervened on Sept. 15 to weaken the currency. The dollar was at a 15-year low of 82.87 yen when Japan began selling yen.

"The yen would be a lot stronger if not for intervention and the threat of intervention," said Lee Hardman, currency economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

"The drop in short-term U.S. yields is consistent with 80 yen rather than 85 yen," he said, adding Japanese authorities would likely intervene again if the dollar fell below 83 yen.

Markets in Tokyo were closed for a national holiday but Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan was to meet U.S. President Barack Obama in New York on Thursday.

Obama also met Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and urged China "to do more than it has done to date" on resolving a dispute over the value of the yuan, according to a senior U.S. official Earlier, Wen said the yuan exchange rate had not relation to the U.S. trade deficit. [ID:nN23131845] [ID:nN22259575]

If the Federal Reserve decides to pump billions more dollars into the U.S. economy to boost a faltering recovery, a possibility it hinted at this week, U.S. yields and the dollar will likely fall further.

Analysts said that was also helping to keep the overall atmosphere bullish for the euro and other currencies such as commodity-linked, growth-sensitive units such as the Australian dollar AUD= and Brazilian real BRBY.

Chaveriat said the Reuters/Jefferies CRB commodities index .CRB has been testing resistance around 281, with any sustained break a bullish sign for commodity currencies.

An unexpected rise in weekly first-time U.S. jobless claims, meanwhile, added to the case for more Fed easing, making it "hard to justify pushing the dollar much higher," said Matthew Strauss, strategist at RBC Capital Markets. [ID:nLDE68M1RT]

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