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Monday January 25, 2010 - 11:22:53 GMT
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FOREX NEWS -Euro rises as demand for Greek bond looks strong

6:17am EST

* Euro supported, demand seen high at Greek bond sale

* Dollar slips, traders take profits on last week's gains

* Bernanke seen winning 2nd term, cooling risk aversion

(Adds comment, updates prices)

By Naomi Tajitsu

LONDON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - The euro rose against the dollar on Monday as demand for an offer of five-year Greek sovereign bonds appeared to be stronger than expected.

Technical support also boosted the single currency against the dollar, analysts said, while traders booked profits on the U.S. currency's gains last week.

Reports that embattled Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was edging closer to winning confirmation to serve a second term also calmed markets, tarnishing the dollar's safe-haven appeal, after his prospects were seen to be shaky last week. [ID:nN24141266]

The euro pulled further away from a near six-month low hit against the dollar last week when concerns about Greece's heavy indebtedness triggered a stampede out of the common European currency.

The Australian <AUD=D4> and New Zealand <NZD=D4> dollars also recovered from their weakest versus the U.S. unit in roughly a month, hit last week when signs of growth in China and Beijing's moves to curb bank lending were seen setting the stage for further monetary tightening.

Commodity-linked currencies had suffered as investors speculated that moves to rein in rapid growth may cut demand for natural resources in China, which is set to overtake Japan as the world's No.2 economy.

"The market was very volatile last week and we saw a big squeeze on the euro, so there's been some consolidation today," said Marcus Hettinger, global currency strategist at Credit Suisse in Zurich.

Analysts said investors would follow developments in U.S. President Barack Obama's crackdown on U.S. banks announced last week as the market gauges its potential impact on the dollar.

By 1059 GMT, the Australian and New Zealand currencies each rose 0.7 percent against the U.S. dollar. Versus a currency basket, the dollar <.DXY> was flat on the day at 78.263.

The euro <EUR=> rose 0.4 percent to the day's high $1.4191, after bank sources said order books for new five-year Greek bonds had hit 9.0 billion euros, much more than expectations of around 3.0 billion euros. [ID:nATH005143]

The single currency hovered above $1.4029 hit last week -- its weakest since late July -- when investors dumped the euro due to growing concerns about Greece's debt problems.

Analysts said the pair was also supported as it held above its 14-day moving average around $1.4130.


The euro traded at 127.37 yen <EURJPY=R>, staying near a nine-month low of 126.55 yen hit on Friday. Subsiding risk aversion stung the yen, pushing the dollar <JPY=> up 0.4 percent to 90.27 yen.

Data on Friday showed speculators increased bets against the euro last week, even as the value of net dollar short positions increased to $3.12 billion in the week ended Jan. 19, compared with $2.7 billion the previous week. [ID:nN22167602]

"While speculative investors overall added to short dollar positions, this does not reflect a change in sentiment towards EUR/USD - and indeed sovereign debt concerns remain a drag on the single currency," analysts at Danske Bank said in a note.

Greece has been trying to convince markets that it can manage its ballooning debts. Its finance minister was quoted on Monday as saying it would not leave the euro and expected no outside help to sort out its financial troubles. [ID:nLDE60O0MA]

The euro <EURCHF=> traded at 1.4727 francs, pulling away from a 10-month low around 1.4670 hit last week. The Swiss franc slipped on Friday after Swiss National Bank Chairman Philipp Hildebrand said he would continue to prevent an excessive appreciation in the currency [ID:nLDE60L1YQ]

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