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Thursday December 13, 2007 - 12:30:54 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX NEWS-Yen recovers as investors cautious on c.bank plan

 
Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:11am EST

(Changes byline, updates prices, adds quotes)

By Toni Vorobyova

LONDON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - The yen recovered from one-month lows versus the dollar and euro on Thursday as investors worried whether measures announced by major central banks on Wednesday would succeed in easing money market stress.

Under the plan, the Federal Reserve and other central banks will auction short-term funds to banks starting next week against a wide variety of collateral that can be used to secure loans.

At first this was seen as a sign that central banks are committed to supporting financial firms struggling to secure funds for hard-hit balance sheets before year-end. This fanned risk appetite and thus carry trade purchases of high-yielding currencies like the Australian and New Zealand dollar funded by cheap borrowing in the yen.

But the initial euphoria proved short-lived and Asian and European stocks fell on Thursday as investors speculated that the measures would not immediately resolve the credit crunch sparked by problems in the U.S. subprime mortgage market.

"It's partly that the moves were quite big (yesterday) and partly a realisation that it's encouraging that central banks are coordinating and getting involved to address the short-term funding issues, but it's not really dealing with the bigger picture," said Martin McMahon, currency strategist at Credit Suisse in Zurich.

"It was an encouraging news development but it remains to be seen whether it actually works or not."

By 1128 GMT, the euro was down nearly half a percent at 164.29 yen <EURJPY=>. The dollar fell 0.3 percent to 111.87 yen <JPY=>, retreating from a one-month high of 112.46 yen hit on Wednesday, according to Reuters data <JPY=>.

The high yielding New Zealand <NZD=> and Australian <AUD=> currencies eased versus the dollar, but clung on to most of Wednesday's gains of 2.25 and 1.2 percent respectively. The euro edged down to $1.4686 <EUR=>.

TENSIONS TO EASE?

Three-month London inter-bank overnight rates LIBOR fixed lower for sterling, the dollar and the euro on Thursday. But for the euro the daily fall was miniscule at less than half a basis point, suggesting that tensions in money markets remained.

Elsewhere, sterling was knocked by soft UK housing data <GBP=> while the Swiss franc was steady <EURCHF=> after the Swiss National Bank (SNB) left interest rates on hold as expected.

"We suspect that the current financial market difficulties played an overwhelming role over any traditional central bank considerations in today's (SNB) decision," Bank of America said in a research note.

"Should the tensions on the financial markets abate in the near future the SNB would probably return to a more orthodox path and hence look at current inflationary tension with more severe eyes," BoA added, forecasting a rate hike in the second half of 2008.

Traders said moves would likely be muted as investors become reluctant to take fresh positions before year-end holidays and quarterly earnings results from U.S. investment banks, starting with Lehman Brothers later in the day.

Further clues on the health of the U.S. economy will come at 1330 GMT with the release of producer prices and retail sales data for November.

© 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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