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Monday December 10, 2007 - 11:47:59 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-UBS writedown knocks dollar off 1-mth high vs yen

Mon Dec 10, 2007 6:33am EST

(Changes byline, adds quotes, updates prices)

By Toni Vorobyova

LONDON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - The dollar retreated from an earlier one-month high versus the yen on Monday after a $10 billion subprime writedown by UBS fanned concerns about the health of the gloabl financial sector.

Nonetheless, the dollar remained on a relatively firm footing -- about four yen above last month's 2-1/2 year lows -- after stronger than expected U.S. jobs data on Friday dampened expectations of a 50 basis point U.S. rate cut on Tuesday.

Markets are still fully pricing in a 25 basis point easing from 4.50 percent, but chances of a bigger move have fallen to one-in-five from around 50-50 a week ago FEDWATCH.

"The news from UBS is still sending some very negative signals for the financial sector ... But it's a very small movement. I can't see what kind of news should trigger any major move in euro/dollar or dollar/yen (ahead of the Fed decision)," said Niels Christensen, currency strategist at Nordea in Copenhagen.

By 1114 GMT, the dollar was steady on the day at 111.63 yen <JPY=>, having retreated from an earlier one-month peak of 111.87 yen <JPY=> after news of the UBS writedown.

The U.S. currency has bounced back from a 2-1/2-year low of 107.20 yen hit last month, according to Reuters data.

The euro was up 0.16 percent at $1.4679 <EUR=>. It got a boost last week after comments by European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet last Thursday left open the possibility of higher rates next year.


The dollar has recovered against other major currencies as central banks in Canada and Britain have followed the Fed in cutting rates, while a U.S. government plan to limit potential mortgage defaults has stirred hopes that the economy's downturn will be contained.

The November payrolls data showed a 94,000 increase in jobs created and the unemployment rate holding at 4.7 percent, suggesting the U.S. economy is slowing but not tumbling into recession.

Monday features the release of U.S. pending home sales for October at 1500 GMT, arguably the last piece of potentially market-moving data ahead of Tuesday's Fed decision.

"Concerns about the outlook for U.S. consumption ... may gain momentum today as pending home sales are expected to illustrate the dire state of the U.S. housing market," Commerzbank Corporates & Markets said in a research note.

"However, with the possibility of further short dollar position unwinding into year-end, it may be too early to call for a rise back towards the recent all-time high."

Latest data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission shows currency speculators trimming their bets against the dollar for the fourth week [ID:nN07570827].

But with dollar shorts still at $25.02 billion in the week to Dec. 4, there could may be a lot of scope for more dollar-boosting unwinding as investors square their books for the end of the year.

Elsewhere, the Norwegian currency rallied to three-week highs versus the euro <EURNOK=> after stronger than expected inflation data cemented expectations for a Norges Bank interest rate hike to 5.25 percent on Wednesday.

Major currencies showed little reaction to China hiking bank reserve requirements further over the weekend, the latest attempt to rein in robust bank lending. (Editing by Mike Peacock)

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.


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