Euro falls on worries over German political uncertainty

John BIERS
 

The euro retreated Monday on concerns about the political crisis engulfing Germany, but European and US stocks rose.

At the close of trading, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index was up 0.5 percent, bouncing back from a weaker start, France's CAC 40 also added 0.4 percent, while London's FTSE was up by a modest 0.1 percent.

A stronger showing on Wall Street -- kicking off a holiday-shortened week that will launch the Christmas shopping season -- helped underpin the upward momentum in Europe, traders said.

But the single currency was solidly lower against the dollar, with some analysts eyeing further declines.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday she was ready to lead her party into snap elections after the collapse of high-stakes coalition talks over the weekend plunged the EU's top economy into turmoil.

"Investors interpreted the political uncertainty as euro negative and rightfully so because Merkel could lose power after serving as Chancellor for the past 12 years," said BK Asset Management's Kathy Lien.

A midday rally in the euro was based on the "misplaced notion that Germany's political troubles are localized like Spain's," Lien added. "As the largest country in the Eurozone however its troubles will have a direct impact on the currency."

The euro fell 0.5 percent to $1.1733 near 2140 GMT compared with Friday night. The German uncertainty could push the currency down to as low as $1.1160, Lien said.

Merkel in September won her fourth national poll victory, but bled more than one million votes to the far-right AfD, plunging her own party into weeks-long coalition talks that have now failed.

Germany now faces weeks, if not months, of paralysis with a lame-duck government that is unlikely to take bold policy action at home or on the European stage.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic (Shanghai: 600558.SS - news) , analysts were expecting lower-than-usual US trading volumes due to the Thanksgiving holiday, which will shut markets on Thursday and result in a half-day of trading on Friday. Analysts say the Thanksgiving week is usually a positive one for US stocks.

Oil prices fell back after rallying almost $1.50 on Friday when Saudi Arabia's energy minister Khalid al-Falih said he remained committed to an OPEC deal to limit production.

Oil prices have risen in recent months, after both the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC countries struck a landmark deal in late 2016 to cut crude production in an effort to combat a global supply glut.

- Key figures around 2140 GMT -

New York - DOW: UP 0.3 percent at 23,430.33 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.1 percent at 2,582.14 (close)

New York - Nasdaq (Frankfurt: 813516 - news) : UP 0.2 percent at 6,790.74 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,389.46 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.5 percent at 13,058.66 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.4 percent at 5,340.45 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 3,556.12

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.6 percent at 22,261.76 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.2 percent at 29,260.31 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.3 percent at 3,392.40 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1733 from $1.1793

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3235 from $1.3215

Dollar/yen: UP at 112.64 yen from 112.14 yen

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 50 cents at $62.22 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 46 cents at $56.09 per barrel

burs-jmb

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes