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Thursday December 2, 2010 - 21:57:50 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX NEWS - ECB bond buying talk spurs euro rally vs dollar

3:05pm EST

* Trichet gives no guidance on bond buying

* Talk of ECB bond buying helps lift euro

* Upcoming U.S. payrolls data could sway currencies (Updates prices, adds comments, changes byline)

By Julie Haviv

NEW YORK, Dec 2 (Reuters) - The euro rose on Thursday on market talk the European Central Bank was buying bonds, but lingering concerns about the outlook for peripheral euro zone countries should continue to put pressure on the currency.

Traders said the ECB was buying Portuguese and Irish debt, but there was disappointment ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet did not announce a more aggressive policy response to ease the euro zone debt crisis. For details, see [ID:nLDE6B10I4]

While the euro's fundamentals are the same following Trichet's remarks, most analysts said the currency's 2-1/2 month low hit earlier this week would act as a strong support level for now. Traders are now looking at the euro's 100-day moving average at $1.3325 as the next resistance level.

In tandem with the euro's rise, the premium that investors demand to buy Portuguese and Irish debt over German benchmarks fell on Thursday, with traders saying the ECB had been buying the two countries' bonds. [ID:nLDE6B11M6]. That caused the euro to recover from losses triggered after Trichet spoke.

Portuguese 10-year debt yield premiums over German benchmarks hit a one-month low on the bond purchases reported by traders. [ID:nLDE6B11QD]

"In times like this, we actually think the best thing to do is not to chase short-term moves," said Bob Sinche, global head of currency strategy at RBS in Stamford, Connecticut.

"Euro/dollar was overdone to the topside on quantitative easing part 2 and went overdone on the downside on fears of an imminent euro zone crisis. I think we have come back to the euro's fundamental valuation, which in our view, is actually $1.32-$1.33."

Sinche said he wouldn't be surprised if the euro ends the week "somewhere north of the 200-day moving average and somewhere south of the 100-day moving average" depending on the the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report due on Friday.

With the ECB's monthly meeting concluded, the focus in markets shifted to U.S. data due on Friday on the labor market. The government is expected to report that nonfarm payrolls rose 140,000 last month after increasing 151,000 in October, according to a Reuters survey.

A stronger-than-expected reading would bode well for the dollar.

The euro fell following Trichet's comments on disappointment the ECB made no commitment to undertake a new bond-buying plan. Instead the ECB extended nonstandard provisions, committing to provide unlimited one-week, one-month and three-month funding for vulnerable euro zone banks until at least April, a move viewed by the market as too soft. For Trichet's remarks see [ID:nLDE68T0MG]

SOME UNSURPRISED BY ECB

In afternoon New York trading, the euro was up 0.5 percent at $1.3204, with session lows at $1.3060 EUR=EBS. Traders cited stops right above $1.3225.

Overall, the intraday bias in euro/dollar remains neutral for now as the currency consolidates from lows at $1.2969 earlier this week, traders said. Another rise cannot be ruled out, according to ActionForex.com analysts, at the hourly 55-day exponential moving average around $1.3279. But they said strong resistance is expected at $1.3447.

Some analysts were not surprised the ECB did not announce any new bond buying program as many members of the bank have opposed such action.

"So unless the now highly politicized situation is resolved, the euro is likely to continue to be under pressure in the near term, which is our expectation because a lack of consensus in the ECB and EU would make credible and substantial responses hard to come by," said Aston Chan, portfolio manager at global macro hedge fund GLC in London. GLC has assets under management of around $1.2 billion.

The ECB has been under pressure to soothe markets after a bailout plan for Ireland stoked speculation other euro zone nations struggling to repay debts may also seek help from the European community.

The dollar was down 0.5 percent against the yen at 83.76 JPY=, weighed down earlier by a rise in the latest U.S. weekly jobless claims. [ID:nN02209260] (Additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

© Thomson Reuters 2010.

 

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