FOREX-Euro finds some solace but still looks shaky

* Euro on hold but looks weak on charts

* Strong Chinese trade data marginally helps risk currencies

* But expectations of Chinese rate hike overwhelm

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO, Dec 10 (BestGrowthStock) – The euro gained some reprieve on
Friday, but fears of more problems emerging from the euro zone’s
fiscal mess and doubts over whether U.S. bond yields have peaked
kept traders cautious of chasing it higher.

Strong Chinese export and import figures provided commodity
currencies such as the Australian dollar with a minor lift, but
expectations of a rate hike by Chinese authorities as soon as
this weekend kept buying to a minimum.

The euro had edged up 0.1 percent on the day to $1.3250
(EUR=: ), extending its rebound from a low of $1.3164 on trading
platform EBS on Thursday.

Still, the currency’s intraday highs have been getting lower
since Monday, normally a sign of an imminent move down. Traders
say no end is in sight for the debt crisis with European leaders
now clashing over the idea of joint euro zone bonds.
[ID:nLDE6B70R1]

“I still think the bias is for the dollar to rise in general.
U.S. bond markets seem to have calmed down for now. But if we
have strong U.S. data on retail sales and so on, their yields
could easily rise again,” said a trader at a Japanese brokerage
house.

The next key target for the euro is seen at $1.3150, followed
by its 200-day moving average around $1.3115. Traders said the
euro may fall back to its December low of $1.2970 in the coming
weeks.

“Short-term risks remain to the downside for the euro because
the peripheral problems remain unresolved,” said Paul Robinson, a
strategist at Barclays Capital.

Fitch became the first ratings agency to strip Ireland of its
A credit status on Thursday, slashing it by three notches to
BBB+, pointing to the fiscal costs of restructuring.

Ireland’s government will also seek parliamentary approval
for an 85 billion euro ($113 billion) IMF/EU rescue package next
week. [ID:nLDE6B81XS]

While the downgrade did not help the euro, the currency’s
rebound from its low suggested problems in Ireland may no longer
be having a major impact on the euro, as traders shift focus to
the bigger economies in the euro zone such as Spain, market
players said.

CHOPPY SESSION

Thin year-end volumes are likely to make for a choppy
session, traders said.

“The market is getting thin, making prices moves susceptible
to big flows. This is a market where you shouldn’t expect too
much logic,” said a trader at a U.S. bank.

The dollar (.DXY: ) index, which tracks the greenback’s
performance against a basket of major currencies, slipped about
0.15 percent to 79.93, struggling to break through the
80.00-81.50 barrier that capped its November rally.

Against the Japanese currency, the greenback last dipped to
83.69 yen (JPY=: ), not far off Thursday’s low of 83.51 yen on EBS
plumbed following the 30-year Treasury auction, which showed
healthy foreign demand for the longer-dated U.S. debt.
[ID:nN09493895]

The dollar’s 14-day, 21-day and 90-day moving averages as
well as the ichimoku tenkan line are all clustered around
83.40-60, making the area a strong support level.

But the greenback’s repeated failure since late last month to
take out resistance around 84.40 is encouraging many traders to
take profits near that level, leading to expectations that its
83.50-84.50 range will persist for now.

“There are heavy sell orders above 84 yen. As it’s getting
difficult to build up new positions ahead of the Christmas
holidays, the dollar is unlikely to break above that resistance
unless there are further rises in U.S. bond yields,” said a
Japanese bank trader.

Market player may be taking profits from gains in cross/yen
this month, capping the dollar/yen amid speculation the Chinese
central bank could raise rates to curb inflation.

Fuelling those expectations, China moved forward the release
of November economic data, including the closely watched
inflation figures, to Saturday from Monday.

“The possibility of a Chinese rate hike is an obstacle for
the dollar/yen to test 85 yen,” said Etsuko Yamashita, chief
economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

Expectations of Chinese tightening also kept the
growth-linked Australian dollar on a leash.

The Australian dollar rose 0.15 percent to $0.9857 (AUD=D4: )
helped by data showing growth in both Chinese imports and exports
beat expectations in November.

But the currency kept some distance from Tuesday’s 3-