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Tuesday March 11, 2008 - 20:18:32 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar surges vs yen, Swiss franc on credit moves

Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:15pm EDT

(Updates prices, adds quotes, changes byline)

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK, March 11 (Reuters) - The dollar posted sharp gains on Tuesday after the Federal Reserve announced new measures to inject liquidity into the financial system, easing concerns about a deepening credit crisis and a U.S. recession.

The dollar surged against the yen and Swiss franc, on pace for its largest daily gain in six and a half months and more than three years respectively, after the Fed said it would lend primary dealers up to $200 billion in Treasury securities and allow them to use agency and mortgage debt as collateral.

It also rebounded from a record low against the euro following the announcement of the liquidity measures, which will be coordinated with other central banks.

"As the economy and currency suffer the most from the credit crisis, the greenback probably has the most to gain from a successful resolution of the credit market difficulties," said Nick Bennenbroek, head of currency strategy at Wells Fargo in New York.

"The yen in particular would be at risk from a successful resolution, from a combination of a stronger U.S. dollar and improving risk appetites that would work against lower-yielding currencies," he added.

The dollar hit a session high of 103.54 yen, well off an eight-year low around 101.40 hit last Friday. It last traded at 103.35 yen, up 1.6 percent on the day, its best daily performance since late August 2007.

The euro retreated from an all-time high just short of $1.55 earlier in the session and fell as low as $1.5283 before edging back to $1.5316 <EUR=>, down 0.1 percent from late on Monday.

The Fed's action cooled market expectations for a sharp interest rate cut at the U.S. central bank's March 18 policy meeting, and that helped take some pressure off the dollar.

U.S. interest rate futures were pricing in a 64 percent perceived chance that the Fed will cut its benchmark rate to 2.25 percent from 3 percent next week. Such a cut had been fully priced in before the Fed's move.


"In a nutshell, this demonstrates the Fed will use every means at its disposal to get the economy going," said Jonathan Lewis, founder of Samson Capital Advisors in New York.

Some market participants, however, said the dollar's gains were probably not sustainable, especially as recent U.S. economic data have been almost universally gloomy. Some economists believe the United States is already in a recession.

"In light of the increased chances of a U.S. recession, broadening losses in equities and the strong fundamentals in the euro zone, today's dollar rebound will be short-lived largely against the euro and the yen," said Ashraf Laidi, chief currency analyst at CMC Capital Markets in New York.

The dollar also rose 1.3 percent to 1.0333 Swiss francs <CHF=>, while the euro strengthened to 158.23 yen <EURJPY=>, up 1.4 percent from late Monday.

High-yielding currencies rallied sharply against the dollar and yen, with the New Zealand dollar <NZD=> rising 1.6 percent to US$0.8017, as risk appetite returned.

Earlier, European Central Bank governing board member Axel Weber hinted that the ECB had no room to cut interest rates, saying German inflation remained a concern.

The ECB has held rates at 4 percent throughout the credit crisis that erupted last summer, stressing inflation risks.

Also on Tuesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said long-term U.S. economic fundamentals remained strong. (Additional reporting by Steven C. Johnson; Editing by James Dalgleish)

© 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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