ECONOMY

Euro rises fourth fay as Greece pledges to pay IMF

The euro strengthened for a fourth day against the dollar after Greece pledged to make a payment to the International Monetary Fund on time this week.

The shared currency gained against 11 of its 16 major counterparts after Greece’s Alternate Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas said on Saturday the country will make the payment of about 450 million euros ($494 million) due April 9. A gauge of the U.S. dollar held a three-day decline after a report last week showed employers added the least jobs since December 2013. Australia’s currency approached parity with New Zealand’s.

“The market’s pretty much siding with the view that Greece will make that payment,” said Prashant Newnaha, a rates strategist at TD Securities Inc. in Singapore. “If they do make that payment, that’s also going to be a positive for the euro.”

The euro advanced 0.1 percent to $1.0976 at 7:01 a.m. in London, extending its four-day gain to 2.3 percent. The single currency rose 0.1 percent to 130.64 yen. The yen was little changed at 119.02 per dollar.

Greece and euro-area authorities are in negotiations about a package of measures proposed by the government to repair its economy, a condition for the release of bailout funds.

“The country will pay the IMF on April 9,” Mardas said in an interview on Mega TV on Saturday. “There’s money there for payment of salaries, pensions and whatever else is needed for all of next week.”

Euro’s Slide

The euro has tumbled 5.7 percent this year, Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes show, as the central bank started bond purchases and investors grew concerned economic woes in Greece will see it leave the currency union. The dollar gained 5.1 percent and the yen advanced 5.8 percent.

Net bearish positions on the euro rose to 226,560 contracts in the week to March 31, from 220,963 in the previous period, according to data from the Washington-based Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The dollar was little changed after sliding on April 3 when the Labor Department said U.S. companies added 126,000 workers in March, almost half the 245,000 median estimate of 98 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

“We came into that report still holding on to a substantial dollar long, particularly among shorter-term investors,” Todd Elmer, a currency strategist at Citigroup Inc. in Singapore, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “I do see some risk over the next several days that we will start to unwind, or at least consolidate, some of those positions. That could see the dollar drift lower.”

Dollar Index

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the U.S. currency against 10 major peers, was at 1,182.38 after falling as much as 0.2 percent.

Australia’s dollar declined 0.2 percent to NZ$1.0037 after depreciating to NZ$1.0021, the lowest since the two currencies were freely floated in the 1980s.

There’s a 76 percent chance the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point to a record 2 percent when it meets Tuesday, swaps data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The Aussie was little changed at 76.30 U.S. cents after declining to 75.33 on April 2, the lowest since May 2009.

“The market’s reassessment of the timing and pace of the Fed’s tightening cycle, could be a factor driving the RBA to act sooner and faster to bring about a lower” Australian dollar, Barclays Plc analysts including Hamish Pepper wrote in an April 5 note. Investors should bet the Aussie will weaken to 70 cents, according to the note.

[Bloomberg]