Euro falls on way to worst quarter; dollar best since 2008


(Reuters) – The euro fell to a 10-day low against the dollar on Tuesday, putting it on track for the worst quarter in its 15-year history, as investors renewed bets the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise rates later this year while the European Central Bank moves to boost the euro zone economy.

The euro has fallen 11 percent against the dollar in the first quarter of 2015, driven by the ECB starting a 1.1-trillion-euro bond purchase program in a bid to avert deflation spreading across the euro zone.

The euro has faced added selling pressure as Greece and its lenders have failed to strike a deal on reforms.

“There’s not a lot of resolution with Greece’s situation. That’s keeping the euro from any kind of a short-term rebound,” said Mark McCormick, currency strategist at Credit Agricole in New York.

Meanwhile, the dollar index .DXY, which gauges the greenback against a basket ofcurrencies, has risen 9 percent since January and is poised for the strongest quarter since the third quarter of 2008.

“It’s hard to bet against the U.S. currency right now as the fundamental backdrop augurs for higher U.S. interest rates,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.

The greenback got a further boost on Tuesday from month-end rebalancing flows and upbeat readings on U.S. consumer confidence and home prices, traders said.

The dollar index was up 0.4 percent at 98.33, just below a 12-year high of 100.39 set earlier in March.

The greenback dipped 0.1 percent against the yen .JPY at 119.93 yen, leaving its gain for the quarter at 0.4 percent.

The euro EUR= was last down 0.8 percent against the dollar at $1.0746 – above the 12-year trough of $1.0456 set on March 16, according to Reuters data.

The single currency was down 0.9 percent at 128.86 yen EURJPY=, bringing its quarter-to-date loss to 11.3 percent.

Analysts said the dollar’s near-term strength would hinge largely on the March payrolls numbers due on Friday ECONUS.

Signs of further improvement in the U.S. jobs market will likely reinforce the view the Fed would end its near zero interest rate policy later this year, propelling the dollar and U.S. yields higher, analysts said.

Source: Reuters