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FOREX-Euro to be 2013′s top-performing major currency

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* Euro slips but still up versus dollar for 2013

* Dollar set for best gain vs yen in 34 years

NEW YORK, Dec 31 (Reuters) – The euro was on track on
Tuesday to be the world’s best-performing major currency this
year, while the dollar looked set for its biggest annual gain
against the yen since 1979.

The euro zone common currency has gained 26 percent against
the yen this year, though it fell 0.2 percent to
144.89 yen on Tuesday, having set a five-year high of 145.67 on
Friday.

Against the dollar, the euro has gained more than 4 percent,
baffling many hedge funds that had expected a weak euro zone
economy and a reduction in Federal Reserve bond-buying to
strengthen the greenback this year.

The Fed, however, finally announced its first move this
month and a steady reduction in the flood of dollars it is
pumping into the economy looks set to contrast starkly with the
Bank of Japan’s policy next year.

“We think things are going to be very data-dependent,” said
Paul Chappell, CIO of UK-based hedge fund manager C-View.

“At the moment that looks like U.S. numbers are going to be
relatively robust compared with some other G7 peers, so the
dollar is likely to be relatively robust versus other developed
country currencies.”

He said the euro, boosted recently by banks in the region
repatriating funds to shore up their capital bases, tends to
lose ground in the first few days of a new year.

On Tuesday the euro slipped 0.2 percent to $1.3775 as
the gap between U.S. two-year government bond yields
and German yields widened, increasing the relative
attractiveness of the dollar.

The dollar slipped 0.2 percent to 104.93 yen, but was
up 21 percent for 2013, its biggest annual gain since a 23.7
percent rise in 1979, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo
Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore, saw the dollar rising
to 110 yen in the first half of 2014, before retreating below
100 yen mid-year and then re-testing 110 yen in late 2014.

The latest Reuters poll published on Dec. 4 showed
strategists expect the euro to retreat to $1.27 in a year, while
the dollar will rise to 108.0 yen. The poll was conducted before
the latest Fed meeting, at which the U.S. central bank announced
its first reduction in stimulus money.

The Swiss franc hovered near a three-decade peak against the
yen, fetching 117.90 yen. The franc touched 119.17
yen on Friday, its highest since January 1983.

C-View’s Chappell added: “We’re very much into year-end
where individual currencies are flopping around a bit,
predicated on year-end flows.”

forex euro to be 2013s top performing major currency

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