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Euro falls as doubts over EU deal creep in
LONDON (Reuters) - The euro fell against the dollar on Monday, after fiscally strong Finland and the Netherlands opposed a plan for the euro zone's bailout fund to buy government bonds in the secondary market.
That injected fresh uncertainty over last week's summit deal to tackle the debt crisis in which European leaders decided that rescue funds would be available to stabilise bond markets.
That, along with moves towards a common banking union, had triggered the euro's biggest single-day percentage rise in eight months against the dollar. Traders said the euro was likely to stay under pressure ahead of an European Central Bank meeting this week, when the bank is expected to ease policy.
The euro fell to $1.2630 (806 pence) from around $1.2658 before the comments from Helsinki. The Finnish government said that the rescue fund's bond buying from secondary markets would require unanimity and that seems unlikely because both Finland and the Netherlands are opposed.
"The euro has come off on those comments. It serves a reminder that Friday's deal was long on promises and short of action," said Geoff Kendrick, currency analyst at Nomura.
"I am short euro/dollar after Friday's deal and happy with that trade. The markets are expecting the ECB to cut rates and announce fresh measures to support the economy. If those measures do not materialise, the euro will be sold off."
The ECB is expected to cut its main refinancing rate by 25 basis points to 0.75 percent on Thursday, with expectations that the deposit rate it pays banks to park cash overnight may also be cut, to zero.
Some players are hoping the ECB will also announce fresh stimulus measures to shore up the faltering euro zone economy.
So the market will be disappointed if the ECB fails to deliver on those expectations, analysts said.
Data on Monday showed euro zone manufacturing suffered in June and jobs were cut at the fastest rate in two-and-a-half years.
The euro was last trading at $1.2617, down 0.3 percent on the day. Traders said there were supporting bids from Asian investors at around $1.2590-95 while decent resistance lay at $1.2693, the high struck on Friday.
The single currency fell 0.6 percent against the yen to 100.41 yen. On Friday, the euro had jumped 2.2 percent versus the yen, its biggest one-day rise since March 2011. There was talk of profit-taking in the euro against the yen by hedge funds, traders said.
The euro surged around 1.7 percent against the dollar on Friday, after leaders agreed to let Europe's rescue fund inject aid directly into stricken banks from next year and intervene on bond markets to support troubled member states.
But details were sketchy and questions remained whether, even if authorised by member states to do so, the rescue fund would have enough money to provide a firewall from a debt contagion that could ensnare larger peripheral economies.
Many market players said the euro's rally could fade, especially if peripheral bond yields started to climb back towards recent euro-era highs. Italian and Spanish 10-year yields slipped on Monday but their funding costs remain high in historical terms.
"The optimism will fade as the week unfolds and if yields in Italy and Spain increase there will be further pressure on euro/dollar," said Lutz Karpowitz, FX strategist at Commerzbank.
"It (the deal) is just spending more money from donor countries and receiving more money from debt-ridden countries. This will lead to political friction and is not a long-term solution."
Growth-linked currencies recovered from data on Sunday showing Chinese factory activity slowed to seven-month lows in June, with the outcome not as bad as feared. The Australian dollar was last up 0.2 percent at US$1.0255, having hit a two-month high of $1.0279.
The yen showed little reaction to news that Japanese political heavyweight Ichiro Ozawa and 51 other lawmakers will quit the ruling party over a plan to increase sales tax.
The government will still retain its majority in the powerful lower house of parliament and the currency appeared to shrug off concerns over political uncertainty.
The dollar dipped 0.2 percent to 79.58 yen, staying below a two-month high of 80.63 yen hit a week ago.
(Additional reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by John Stonestreet)
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