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Monday December 6, 2010 - 11:20:04 GMT
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FOREX NEWS - Euro cedes ground on debt woes, dlr rebounds

4:24am EST

* Euro fails to get much support from LCH.Clearnet move

* Euro zone finance ministers to meet later on Monday

* Bernanke: may buy more assets; mkt not too worried

(Recasts, adds quote, updates prices)

By Anirban Nag

LONDON, Dec 6 (Reuters) - The euro fell on Monday, winning little respite from LCH.Clearnet's move to cut margin requirements for Irish government bonds, as peripheral debt concerns dominated ahead of a euro zone finance ministers' meeting.

The dollar rebounded, helped by a bout of short covering, concern about the euro zone and as the market was not too worried about comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that quantitative easing could be bigger than estimated.

European clearing house LCH.Clearnet reduced the margin requirement on Irish government bonds to 30 percent from 45 percent of net positions of its margin rate. The move reversed an increase on Nov. 25 and follows a recent narrowing of Irish 10-year government bond spreads IE10YT=TWEB over benchmark German Bunds DE10YT=TWEB.

"I would not be reading too much into this move," said Paul Mackel, director of currency strategy at HSBC.

"The euro/dollar move in Asia has been a bit of a disappointment and I get the feeling it has scope to move down further with political developments and commitment from euro zone policymakers likely to be the focus."

Euro zone finance ministers meet later on Monday and will face pressure to increase the size of a 750-billion-euro safety net for crisis-hit members in order to halt contagion in the single currency bloc.

That will be followed by a meeting on Tuesday of ministers from the broader 27-nation European Union, who are expected to formally approve an 85-billion-euro aid package for Ireland and discuss the reform of EU budget rules. [ID:nLDE6B40EJ]

The euro EUR= was down 0.74 percent at $1.3316.

It had risen to as high as $1.3380 in early European trade on the LCH.Clearnet report but gave up those gains and fell below its 100-day moving average at $1.3333. Some real money accounts and sovereign names were cited as sellers.

The dollar index .DXY was up 0.32 percent at 79.628, with the greenback pulling away from a three-week low against the yen.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Sunday that the Fed could end up buying more than the $600 billion in U.S. government bonds it had committed to purchasing [ID:nN05271909] but traders said his comments were not too bearish given disappointing jobs data on Friday.


As the dollar had shed 1.5 percent against the yen on Friday and more than 1 percent against a basket of currencies, it had scope for a bounce in thin volumes on Monday, analysts said.

"Friday's moves were so rapid that it is natural to have a bit of position unwinding," said Keiji Matsumoto, strategist at Nikko Cordial Securities in Tokyo.

"There's also a feeling that there could be more bad news from the euro zone," Matsumoto added.

The dollar rose 0.2 percent to 82.83 yen JPY=, climbing off Friday's three-week low of 82.52 yen.

Bernanke said it could be four to five years before the U.S. returned to a more normal jobless rate but that a double-dip recession was not likely.

With QEII on track, commodity-linked and higher-yielding currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars kept some of the gains they made on Friday against both the dollar and yen. Gold and silver were buoyant, with silver XAG= at its strongest levels since early 1980.

The Australian dollar, which surged 1.7 percent to $0.9938 AUD=D4 on Friday, gave back 0.3 percent to $0.9895 and ticked up 0.1 percent on the yen at 81.95 yen AUDJPY=R. (Additional reporting by Charlotte Cooper in Tokyo; Editing by Susan Fenton)

© Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.



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