June 17, 2012 / 8:08 PM / 7 years ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Euro jumps in relief rally after Greek vote

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The euro and risk currencies jumped on Monday and global shares were poised to open higher as the risk of a Greek exit from the euro zone faded after political parties committed to a Greek bailout deal looked set to win a cliffhanger election.

A man passes a television screen displaying a graph of Japan's Nikkei share average at a lobby of a brokerage in Tokyo June 12, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

The euro climbed as high as $1.2748, from around $1.2655 late in New York on Friday, while the Australian dollar, often sold in times of market stress, popped above $1.0100 for the first time in over five weeks.

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a firmer start for Wall Street later in the day, with S&P 500 index futures 0.7 percent higher. Investors likewise trimmed positions in safe-haven bonds with U.S. Treasury futures off more than a point at the open in New York.

U.S. crude and Brent crude both gained more than $1 a barrel to $85.35 and $99.23 respectively.

“The markets should stabilize in the short term, as can be seen already from the euro moving above $1.27,” said Ion-Marc Valahu, a fund manager at Clairinvest in Geneva.

The Greek election looked likely to yield a coalition government led by conservative New Democracy, which with 80 percent of votes counted was set to narrowly beat the radical leftist SYRIZA, which rejects the terms of the bailout package.

Because of a 50-seat bonus given to the party which comes first, that result would give New Democracy and PASOK 163 seats in the 300-seat parliament, in an alliance broadly committed to the 130 billion euros ($164 billion) bailout. <ID:L5E8HH076>

The outcome should also come as a relief for world leaders, who are due to kick off a G20 meeting in Mexico on Monday.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon said on Saturday the world’s biggest economies must commit to a strong Europe and could agree to further bolster the International Monetary Fund’s ability to contain fallout from Europe’s debt crisis.


Analysts warned there are still plenty of hurdles ahead and the initial positive market reaction could prove to be short-lived.

“Even on the optimistic scenario of New Democracy forming a workable coalition in the coming days, there are tough times ahead,” warned Simon Smith, chief economist at FxPro.

“Greece has been without a fully functioning government for over two months now, so there is much to catch-up on. Furthermore, the New Democracy leader Samaras has made clear his intention to gain further concessions from the troika on the current bailout deal, such as securing measures to support growth.”

Sebastian Galy, strategist at Societe Generale in New York agreed, saying the vote still left the Greek economy in crisis, with Spain not far behind it.

“Short-covering is well and good but will long-term investors decide that the crisis is over and move back into peripheral countries’ debt, or equities? We fear that is highly unlikely.”

Galy said more political and structural change was needed to shore up the euro zone’s financial system, and a growth plan was urgently required as well.

“The bottom line is that Europe still needs to agree on something that smells and feels a lot more like joint funding than anything that has been suggested so far.”

Additional reporting by Naomi Tajitsu in WELLINGTON; Editing by John Mair

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