* Euro posts modest bounce on Friday’s Greek loan extension
* But euro loses steam as debt deal doesn’t fully clear horizon
* Greece still has to submit list of planned reforms later in day (Adds details, quotes)
By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO, Feb 23 (Reuters) – The euro steadied on Monday as caution over Greece’s future persisted despite a conditional loan extension reached late last week.
Euro zone ministers late on Friday agreed to extend Greece’s financial rescue package by four months after weeks of difficult and often confusing negotiations that held financial markets captive.
The agreement removed the immediate threat of Greece’s exit from the single currency bloc, but questions remained over whether the short-term extension will lead to a deal over how to keep Athens solvent.
The euro’s gains on Friday were nevertheless modest as there were still kinks to be ironed out on Monday.
The common currency was little changed at $ 1.1384 after rising to as high as $ 1.1430 from a low of $ 1.1277 on Friday in response to the Greek loan agreement.
The euro also stood steady at 135.54 yen after eking out a 0.2 percent gain on Friday.
Greece has to submit to the Eurogroup on Monday a list of reforms it plans to implement during the remainder of the bailout period, which needs the approval from the troika comprised of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF.
Moreover, the conditional nature of the four-month extension left the outlook unclear.
“It is a four-month extension but Greece still has to receive approval from the Eurogroup and the troika at the end of April. It is a deal with many conditions attached, so it hasn’t been all bids for the euro,” said Shinichiro Kadota, chief Japan forex strategist at Barclays in Tokyo.
At the end of April, the troika will decide if Athens has followed through with the reforms and will determine if it gets its last aid tranche.
The euro meanwhile may look to the German Ifo business climate index due later in the session for a bit of support. The survey is expected to show a continued recovery in the euro zone’s largest economy.
Headlines from Greece’s debt struggles may continue to keep the currency market wary, but investors will also be attempting to gauge dollar-centric factors this week.
Market players will be watching Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday for any hints about when the U.S. central bank may begin raising rates.
Yellen’s comments will draw extra attention after dovish-sounding minutes from the Fed’s January meeting released last week dampened expectations for an early interest rate hike.
Rate hike expectations may have been dented, but the Fed and ECB stand poles apart on the monetary policy spectrum. The ECB just cut interest rates below zero late last year and announced the launch of quantitative easing in January.
“The Fed already ended quantitative easing last October, while the ECB will begin purchasing debt for an extended period next month. The euro wasn’t really weak due to Greece, but as monetary policies were starkly different in the first place,” said Daisaku Ueno, chief foreign exchange strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities in Tokyo.
The dollar was steady at 119.08 yen after bouncing from a low of 118.30 on Friday, helped by a rise in U.S. debt yields after the Greek bailout agreement.
The dollar index edged up 0.1 percent to 94.347.
The New Zealand dollar was down 0.2 percent at $ 0.7515 . For the kiwi, which hit a four-week high of $ 0.7574 last week, local risk events this week included a possible update from dairy giant Fonterra on its forecast farmer payout.
(Editing by Kim Coghill)
- Budget, Tax & Economy