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Euro edges up as investors weigh risks of Greek exit

Monday, July 6, 2015 - 08:01

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The euro bounced back against the dollar in Asia on Monday despite a jump in the odds of a Greek exit from the eurozone after it rejected creditors' austerity demands in a weekend referendum.

[TOKYO] The euro bounced back against the dollar in Asia on Monday despite a jump in the odds of a Greek exit from the eurozone after it rejected creditors' austerity demands in a weekend referendum.

The 19-nation currency was changing hands at US$1.1025 in early Asian trade, coming off US$1.0963 soon after early results of the Greece bailout reforms vote were out.

The euro was at US$1.0987 in New York on late Sunday, down 1.2 per cent from Friday evening.

In the wake of the vote, the euro weakened to 134.91 yen (S$1.49) from 136.31 yen and 0.7088 pounds from 0.7135 on Friday.

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Market voices on:

Shinya Harui, currency analyst at Nomura Securities in Tokyo, said the common currency was holding up as traders "assess the spill-over risks in the case of a Greek exit from the eurozone".

"I personally think the chance (of the Greek exit) is very high, at around 70-80 percent," he added.

"A Greek exit would shake confidence in what had been 19-nation solidarity, which could fuel anti-euro movements within Europe." As Greece was unable to repay a key International Monetary Fund debt last week, it cannot borrow money from international institutions and will be shut out of financial markets, Mr Harui warned.

"Inflation risks (in Greece) are very high... People voted 'No' without being fully aware of the ensuing risks," he said.

Official results from over 95 per cent of polling stations showed more than 61 per cent of Greek voters rejected fresh austerity demands by the country's creditors in the historic referendum.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras claimed the creditors, including the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund - would be forced to talk about restructuring the massive, 240-billion-euro (S$357 billion) debt Greece owes them.

"The 'No' vote is the worst possible outcome from an 'uncertainty' perspective", Ray Attrill, global co-head of forex strategy at National Australia Bank, said in a commentary after the referendum.

"'Grexit' risk has clearly risen sharply, and is now the singularly most likely scenario following the referendum." "Of one thing we can be sure: the 'moral hazard' risks arising from immediately granting Greece a soft deal with substantial debt relief... makes this a less likely scenario than Grexit," he said.

Mr Attrill said a fall back in the euro to levels around US$1.05 was "not unreasonable".

AFP

Read more on the Greek crisis here

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