The euro rose versus most of its 16 major counterparts before finance ministers from the 17-nation currency bloc resume talks on aid for Greece next week.
The euro strengthened against the dollar and yen as leaders of the 27 European Union member nations gather Thursday for budget negotiations. The Japanese currency touched a seven-month low amid speculation the nation’s opposition party advocating “unlimited” monetary stimulus will win power in elections next month and as gains in Asian equities curbed demand for haven assets. Australia’s currency climbed after a private report signaled China’s manufacturing may expand this month.
“Eventually Greece will get its money,” said Callum Henderson, Singapore-based global head of currency research at Standard Chartered Plc. “Given that the European crisis clearly has not been solved, I wouldn’t expect the euro to go beyond $1.2950.”
The euro added 0.1 percent to $1.2846 as of 6:44 a.m. in London after earlier reaching $1.2868, the highest since Nov. 7. It fetched 105.95 yen from 105.86 yesterday. Japan’s currency touched 82.59 per dollar, the weakest since April 4, before trading little changed at 82.47.
The yen fell 5.6 percent in the past three months, the worst performer tracked by Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Currency indexes. The greenback lost 0.4 percent during the same period, while the euro gained 2.4 percent.
Euro-area finance ministers said a further meeting on Greece had been arranged for Nov. 26 and that only technical problems are holding up a deal. “We have a series of options on the table on how to close the financing gap,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday. “We discussed the issue very intensively, but since the questions are so complicated we didn’t come to a final agreement.”
“The market has been quite pragmatic on what’s going to be announced out of Europe next week, which is why we didn’t see the euro collapse,” said Thomas Averill, managing director in Sydney at Rochford Capital, a currency and interest-rate risk management company.
The yen headed for weekly decline against all 16 major peers as polls show opposition Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe is favored to become Japan’s next prime minister in a Dec. 16 election. The LDP pledged Wednesday to achieve nominal economic growth of 3 percent and set an inflation target with the Bank of Japan (8301) should it win next month’s vote.
“I’m worried that if the new government were to follow through the policy the LDP is proposing, the yen will tumble to around 100 per dollar,” said Noriaki Murao, managing director of the marketing group at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York. “The risk of a sudden drop in the yen is increasing.”
One-month implied volatility for dollar-yen options, which indicates the expected price changes in the exchange rate, climbed to 9.02 percent on Thursday, the highest level since June 15.
The one-month, 25-delta risk-reversal rate for the currency pair ended yesterday at a record 1 percent, signaling greater demand for the right to buy the dollar against the yen than to sell the greenback. It was the highest level for data compiled by Bloomberg back to October 2003.
Overseas investors are “seeing this as the trade of the decade, feeling something is different this time around from the past, when they usually lost a bet by selling the yen,” said Masao Okada, head of foreign-exchange sales at Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. in Tokyo. “While traders are cutting risk on other currencies, I hear talks that they are leaning toward increasing positions related to the yen.”
Demand for the Australian dollar was buoyed on increased risk appetite as Asian stocks gained and after a private report signaled China’s manufacturing may expand in November.
HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics said today that their purchasing managers’ index for China’s manufacturing was at 50.4 in November on a preliminary reading, compared with a final level of 49.5 in October. The 50 level divides expansion from contraction.
“Today’s report underscores the halting of China’s slowdown,” said Teppei Ino, an analyst in Tokyo at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., a unit of Japan’s biggest financial group by market value. “While we have to see further signs of improvement, it’s positive for the Australian dollar.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index of stocks gained 0.9 percent, following a 0.2 percent advance in Standard & Poor’s 500 Index Wednesday. The so-called Aussie advanced 0.2 percent to $1.0388. [Bloomberg]