The euro fell on Monday on mounting investor concern that Greek coalition parties had yet to sign off on the terms of a new bailout, keeping alive the risk of a messy default that could ensnare other countries such as Portugal.
Greece's coalition members must agree to painful terms of a new bailout worth 130 billion euros before euro zone finance ministers next meet, with a Greek government official denying that there was a deadline for the parties to respond to.
A spokesman of the PASOK socialist party which is a coalition partner, said on Sunday that leaders of the three parties had to give their responses by 5 a.m. ET on Monday.
So far there appears some distance between the Greeks and the targets proposed by the IMF-EU-ECB troika with concerns rising that Athens might be opposed to more austerity measures like labor reforms and wage cuts.
If there is no resolution to the impasse, some traders say the euro could fall below $1.30 in the near term.
Deadline or no deadline, I am not surprised, said Jeremy Stretch, head of currency strategy at CIBC World Markets, who expected these deadlines to be flexible. Already the euro has moved a fair bit lower this morning and a lack of movement on the Greek deal will perhaps see it grinding below $1.30.
The single currency was down 0.8 percent at $1.3036, tripping stops below $1.3050 as it dropped to $1.3030 on trading platform EBS. Near term support lies at $1.3023 - its February 1 trough- and more stops cited below $1.3020 with investors like macro funds looking to sell above $1.3100.
Real money investors are still structurally short of the euro and if cash is not made available to Greece, it will not be good news, Chris Walker, currency strategist at UBS.
Speculators have trimmed their record bearish bets against the euro with data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showing that positioning against the common currency had declined in the latest week to January 31.
Against the yen, the euro fell 0.7 percent to 99.88 yen while against the safe-haven Swiss franc, the common currency was 0.1 percent lower at 1.2060 francs. The Swiss central bank caps the strength of the franc at 1.20 per euro.
Still, the fact that euro was holding above $1.30 supported a view that Athens and the troika of lenders will clinch a last minute deal. That could give the euro a short term boost, although many investors could use the bounce into $1.32 to initiate fresh bearish positions, traders said.
Worries about Greece overshadowed Friday's confidence-boosting U.S. jobs data, which showed the world's biggest economy created jobs at the fastest pace in nine months in January. That took the unemployment rate to a three-year low of 8.3 percent.
The U.S. employment report sent Treasury yields sharply higher and lifted the dollar against the yen. The dollar bought 76.60 yen, having rallied to 76.809 yen at one point, its highest in over a week. Decent offers are cited between 76.80-77 yen which could cap the greenback's rise.
CIBC's Stretch said U.S. yields were once again starting to impact the dollar/yen pair, but he expected investors to sell into the greenback's rally in the 77 yen level.
Dollar/yen can probably rise to 77 yen, but most will probably look to fade into that move, he said. He said Japanese investors were buying local stocks and were expecting more gains in the yen.
Junya Tanase, currency strategist at JPMorgan Chase in Tokyo, said the dollar would remain under pressure against the Japanese yen despite its initial reaction to the U.S. job data.
When you look at the historical correlation between the jobs data and the dollar/yen, you can see that positive surprises in the data tend to lead to a rise in the dollar/yen on the day of announcement, he said. However, that relationship fizzles out within a week and as such data surprises have little impact on the pair after that, he added.
The Australian dollar slipped from a six-month high hit on Friday after surprisingly soft Australian retail sales data kept alive expectations of a rate cut by the Australian central bank on Tuesday. The Aussie fell 0.7 percent to $1.0695, slipping from a six-month high of $1.0794 on Friday.