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Sterling, euro win reprieve but sentiment remains fragile

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The pound and the euro hovered above their post-Brexit lows on Wednesday as a brief short-covering spell lent a semblance of stability to the battered European currencies, though they remained hampered by longer term uncertainty.

[TOKYO] The pound and the euro hovered above their post-Brexit lows on Wednesday as a brief short-covering spell lent a semblance of stability to the battered European currencies, though they remained hampered by longer term uncertainty.

The British pound fetched US$1.3326, little changed in early trade and above Monday's 31-year low of US$1.3122.

The euro also stabilised at US$1.10735, off its 3 1/2-month low of US$1.0912 hit on Friday.

Against sterling, the common currency traded at 82.90 pence, not far from its Monday's high of 83.80, its highest level in more than two years.

"This has been driven by nothing more than short-covering. The pound may not visit the lows touched earlier, in next couple of days but it will likely do so if we look at a longer time frame, say to September or December," said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief FX strategist at Mizuho Securities.

As European currencies recovered some of their poise, the US dollar's index against a basket of six major currencies ticked down to 96.04 from Monday's high of 96.705.

As the markets' risk averse mood eased slightly, the US dollar also firmed to 102.63 yen, moving further away from its 2-1/2-year low of 99 touched in highly volatile trade on Friday after the outcome of the UK referendum.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday urged the central bank to provide ample funds to the market to ensure liquidity, at the start of a meeting between the government and the BOJ to discuss market developments after the Brexit vote.

Japanese authorities have warned in the past that they could intervene in the currency market to stem the yen's rise, but traders suspect the hurdle for yen-selling intervention is high.

The US dollar extended gains after US first-quarter economic growth was revised up to 1.1 per cent from the previous reading of 0.8 per cent.

Yet overriding worries over how Brexit could disrupt the global economies are likely to keep many investors cautious.

US money markets are also pricing out any chance of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates in the coming 12 months, suggesting a tempering of the US dollar's yield allure.

Elsewhere, the Turkish lira was stable so far after attacks by suicide bombers killed 28 people in Istanbul's main international airport, Europe's third busiest.

The lira traded little changed at 2.9030 to the US dollar.

REUTERS

For more coverage of the EU referendum, visit bt.sg/BrexiT