Euro down ahead of Greece debt talks


Afp April 21, 2010

TOKYO: The euro dropped in Asia on Wednesday as dealers remained cautious before Greece holds talks with European officials and the International Monetary Fund on its debt, analysts said.

The single currency fell to 1.3406 dollars in Tokyo mid-afternoon trade from 1.3436 dollars in New York late Tuesday, and to 124.92 yen from 125.28 yen.

The dollar edged slightly higher to 93.18 yen from 93.17 yen. "The euro holds the stage... Concern is prevailing ahead of the talks," said Mizuho Corporate Bank market economist Daisuke Karakama.

The euro was hit by selling by non-Japanese hedge funds, a dealer at a Japanese brokerage said. Its fall was "just driven by a sell-on rally as sentiment toward the euro remains weak" amid uncertainty over the outlook on the Greek fiscal problem, the dealer told Dow Jones Newswires.

The focus has returned to Greece's debt crisis after news on Tuesday that Athens had secured fresh loans worth around two billion euros, but at a steeply inflated cost.

Greece is to begin talks later Wednesday with EU, IMF and European Central Bank officials on the technical aspects of a loan rescue deal.

The EU-IMF rescue deal is worth up to 45 billion euros at around five percent interest in the first year. But Athens has called for talks on a "multi-year programme of economic policies". Its overall debt stands at nearly 300 billion euros.

"The market wants to know what the assistance would be from the second year and if the IMF pushes for a strict conditionality on its loans," Karakama said.

The dollar was under pressure against regional currencies, falling to 31.36 Taiwan dollars from 31.43 on Tuesday and to 44.38 Philippine pesos from 44.56.

It also eased to 1,108.55 South Korean won from 1,115.95, to 9,009 Indonesian rupiah from 9,015, to 1.3728 Singapore dollars from 1.3763 and to 32.11 Thai baht from 32.22.

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