EUR/USD Holds Near 1.12 as Greek Debt Saga Plays Out

The euro held on to gains on Tuesday after surging against the dollar as the initial shock of seeing Greece heading for a debt default eased slightly, but tensions remained high as the market awaited further developments in the deepening crisis.  The euro stood at $1.1216 EUR= after surging from a four-week low of $1.0955 struck overnight, helped in part by the sharp flight-to-quality drop in U.S. debt yields that dented the greenback.

The common currency hit the low in a knee-jerk reaction to developments over the weekend that saw Greece’s creditors lose patience and freeze a credit lifeline after Athens opted for a national referendum on a bailout that would bring them much-needed cash.  Meanwhile, Greece is on its way to default on 1.6 billion euros of loans from the International Monetary Fund due on Tuesday and faces the possibility of exiting the euro zone.

“It is difficult to describe in one breath why the euro rebounded, but we can say that bargain hunters were waiting when it fell below $1.10. The ‘troika’ showing some willingness for further dialogue has also helped a little,” said Kyosuke Suzuki, director of forex at Societe Generale in Tokyo.  “All in all many in the market had already factored in the likelihood of Greece defaulting. But there is no guarantee the stability will last. What is worrying is the volatility in the risk asset markets, which could impact currencies,” he said.