* German industrial orders data temporarily pushes euro
* Investors flock to Portugal bond sale
* Safe-haven demand buoys yen vs dollar and euro
* Australian dollar drops after RBA cuts cash rate
By Julie Haviv
NEW YORK, May 7 The euro held steady against the
dollar but fared well against other major European currencies on
Tuesday as surprisingly strong German data and a solid sale of
Portuguese bonds allayed concerns about the euro zone economy
and its debt burden.
The euro, which is down 0.9 percent against the dollar so
far this year, could weaken further should the euro zone
continue to languish in a recession that motivates the European
Central Bank to ease monetary policy further after cutting
interest rates last week.
But Germany on Tuesday reported an unexpected rise in
industrial orders in March, compared with expectations for a
drop, prompting investors to curb euro short positions earlier
in the session.
"An uneven dollar steadied against the euro, fell against
the yen, and exploded to multi-month highs on the Aussie dollar,
the session's standout underperformer," said Joe Manimbo, senior
market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in
The Reserve Bank of Australia surprised investors earlier in
the global session by cutting interest rates to a record low of
2.75 percent, pushing the Australian dollar to a two-month low
"Traders today leaned toward risk, emboldened by upbeat
German factory data and Australia's joining the global central
bank easing campaign," Manimbo said.
The market had been divided on the chances of an Australian
rate cut. The growth-linked Aussie dollar was last at
US$1.0178, down 0.7 percent on the day.
Sebastien Galy, foreign exchange strategist at Societe
Generale in New York, said the Aussie's rebound from key support
at $1.0150 was noteworthy.
The rise showed that despite the RBA's rate cut, there is
strong demand for the Aussie because it still offers an
attractive yield advantage over the U.S. dollar.
Investors on Tuesday flocked to buy Portugal's first 10-year
bond in more than two years, putting the country on course to
exit its bailout on time and qualify for an ECB debt support
Portugal's preparations to issue a new benchmark 10-year
bond are an "enormous success," ECB policymaker Yves Mersch said
The euro hit a session high of $1.3131 after the
German data, but last traded flat at $1.3074.
The single currency fared much better against the Swiss
franc, rising 0.2 percent to 1.2294, and gained versus
the British pound, rising 0.4 percent to 0.8446 .
EURO SEEN AS SUPPORTED
Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotiabank in
Toronto, sees the euro as better supported than the dollar in
the near term because the ECB is not engaged in the type of
aggressive monetary stimulus the Federal Reserve has undertaken.
"The truth is relative monetary policy still favors the ECB
in terms of currency strength," Sutton said. "As long as the ECB
is not engaged in any balance sheet expansion, that's
currency-positive, and even if there's a risk of lower rates,
the interest rate differential between the euro and the dollar
is so close, it's not even material."
She said the euro could hold that $1.30 level over the next
In the options market, one-month implied volatilities
were near their lowest since January, indicating the
euro was likely to stay in a range against the dollar. The euro
has been trading between $1.2740 and $1.3243 since March.
Support for the euro is seen around $1.3024, the 76.4
percent retracement of its April 24-May 1 rally, and the 55-day
moving average at $1.3021. Traders also cited bids from Asian
sovereign accounts at sub-$1.3050 levels.
The yen, meanwhile, rose against the dollar and euro.
Concerns about political tensions surrounding Iran and Syria
prompted investors to seek the yen's safety, analysts said.
The yen is viewed as a safe haven because it is a highly
liquid currency. In times of crisis, Japanese investors tend to
bring home their savings invested in overseas assets.
The dollar fell 0.4 percent against the Japanese currency
at 98.98 yen, while the euro was down 0.3 percent at
129.48 yen, according to Reuters data.