US Dollar turns mixed as euro inches up

New York (Apr 21)  The dollar was mixed against major currencies on Tuesday, with the euro pivoting to modest gains against the greenback after euro zone finance ministers moved away from fixing a deadline for Greece to come up with fiscal reforms.

Greece, which is quickly running out of cash, pledged to its euro zone partners in February that by the end of April it would agree with creditors on a comprehensive list of reforms to get 7.2 billion euros remaining from its bailout.

But no package will be ready by Friday, when euro zone ministers are to meet in Riga, and it was also unlikely one will be ready by the end of the month, according to a senior euro zone official.

The euro, which was last up 0.05 percent at $1.0742, had fallen in early trading on a report that European Central Bank staff had proposed to increase the insurance the ECB would demand in return for emergency funding to Greek banks.

The report aggravated worries that Greece was heading towards a cash crunch, debt default, and an eventual exit from the currency union.

The euro traded as low as $1.0661 before some traders reversed positions and sold dollars that were then up for a second session, according to Omer Esiner, chief market strategist at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange.

The dollar was last up 0.41 percent against the yen at 119.68 yen. The dollar index was flat after posting gains earlier attributed in part to worries among investors about Greece's financial plight.

Currency trading was light and choppy, with demand for the dollar influenced by changes in range-bound U.S. Treasury debt, according to Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist at TD Securities in Toronto.

Treasuries were down in price in late New York trading.

"In rather illiquid conditions, at the range extremes, we seem to be attracting some interest," Osborne said. "But I don't think there's much conviction in the market."

The euro took a hit on Monday after public sector entities in Greece were ordered to transfer idle reserves to the central bank to help alleviate a cash squeeze.

Source: CNBC