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Thursday April 10, 2008 - 20:19:00 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar rises from record lows vs euro, eyes ECB

Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:05pm EDT

(Recasts; adds comments)

By Vivianne Rodrigues

NEW YORK, April 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar surged from record lows against the euro on Thursday as European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet expressed concerns over high inflation, sluggish growth and foreign-exchange volatility.

Analysts said traders had sold the dollar earlier in anticipation of comments from the ECB chief, who told reporters the bank's general sentiment on rates and the economic outlook had not changed over the past month. The ECB left its key lending rate steady at 4 percent.

"We did not have enough of an impulse from Trichet to retest and push above $1.59. We are just seeing some position squaring ahead of the G7 meeting," said Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist at TD Securities in Toronto.

In late afternoon trading, the euro was down 0.6 percent to trade at $1.5741 <EUR=>, after surging to an all-time peak of $1.5912 in overnight trade, according to Reuters data.

Traders ignored data showing that the U.S. trade deficit widened unexpectedly to $62.3 billion in February from $59.0 billion in January. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a shortfall of $57.5 billion.

"The market was a little long from the overnight move up and now we are just seeing a bit of squeeze down. We have broken through the base of yesterday's range around 1.58; that triggered some stops," Osborne said.


The dollar's rebound was also helped by Trichet's remarks that recent volatility on foreign exchange markets was excessive and was to be deplored. His comments came ahead of the Group of Seven meeting in Washington starting on Friday.

Analysts do not expect a change in language on currencies, with the focus most likely too be on the credit crisis, when the G7 releases its communique.

Trichet's warning that financial market tensions could last longer and hurt the euro-zone economy more than expected also aided the dollar, analysts said.

This was a subtle change in language, although the ECB was likely to keep rates steady for a while, analysts said.

"I think people are focusing a little bit more on his comments that upcoming growth may slow," said Mark Meadows, senior currency strategist at Tempus Consulting in Washington.

The ECB's inflation-focused stance contrasts with that of the Federal Reserve, which has slashed its benchmark fed funds rate target by three percentage points since mid-September to 2.25 percent and is expected to cut at least another quarter point in late April.

As well as prospects for further unfavorable moves in yield differentials, the dollar has come under pressure from concerns about the U.S. banking sector.

The euro earlier scaled historic peaks against sterling at 80.29 pence <EURGBP=>, but gave up the gains after the Bank of England cut interest rates by only a quarter percentage point, although it highlighted inflation risks.

It last traded at 79.79 pence, down 0.45 percent on the day. The dollar recouped the bulk of its losses against the yen as U.S. stocks pushed higher, led by tech shares.

The dollar last traded down 0.1 percent at 101.66 yen <JPY=>, after earlier dipping to a session trough of 100.04 yen. The euro was down 0.6 percent at 160.25 yen <EURJPY=>. (Additional reporting by Lucia Mutikani; editing by Gary Crosse)

© 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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