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Tuesday July 1, 2008 - 11:18:36 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Yen broadly higher, euro shrugs off weak data

Tue Jul 1, 2008 7:14am EDT

* Dollar down 0.7 percent at 105.36 yen

* Euro shows muted reaction to euro zone manufacturing data

* Aussie slips after RBA signals more rate hikes unlikely

(Updates prices, changes byline)

By Ian Chua

LONDON, July 1 (Reuters) - The yen climbed on Tuesday, benefiting from mounting risk aversion as heightened fears about further losses in the banking sector prompted investors to dump riskier assets like stocks.

The euro rose against the dollar, holding near Monday's three-week peak on expectations the European Central Bank will carry out its well-telegraphed intention of raising interest rates by a quarter point to 4.25 percent on Thursday.

Data showing euro zone manufacturing activity contracted for the first time in three years in June and output prices matched April's year high failed to draw any major market reaction. [ID:nL01629050]

"The market is still focused on yesterday's higher than expected inflation reading of 4.0 percent. There is nothing really that has changed or given the market reason to change the view that come Thursday, the ECB will raise interest rates by a quarter of a point," said Derek Halpenny, senior currency strategist at BTM-UFJ in London.

The yen tends to garner suppÿort in times of heightened risk aversion as investors reverse trades financed by borrowing the Japanese currency at low interest rates.

Halpenny said the yen's strength was also driven by a narrowing of yield differentials.

Markets have begun to take the view that the Federal Reserve has little scope to tighten aggressively to fight inflation given a sharply slowing economy.

"Yen volatility has spiked higher and to us that is the worst kind of mix for selling the yen, that is higher volatility and lower yield differentials and as long as that persists ... we continue to forecast the yen to strengthen to higher levels," Halpenny said.

By 1045 GMT, the dollar had fallen 0.6 percent to 105.40 yen <JPY=> while the euro slid 0.3 percent to 166.71 yen <EURJPY=R>.

Implied one-month dollar/yen volatility was holding near one-month highs hit on Monday at 12.30 percent <JPY1MO=>.

The euro rose 0.3 percent versus the dollar to $1.5808 <EUR=>.

Earlier, the Bank of Japan's closely watched tankan quarterly survey showed a smaller-than-expected decline in Japanese business sentiment. Still, confidence among big manufacturers sank to a five-year low. [ID:nT265283]


Renewed concerns about the health of the U.S. economy are keeping the dollar under pressure. The greenback was down 0.4 percent against a basket of major currencies at 72.178, starting the third quarter of 2008 on the back foot.

In the previous quarter, the dollar index .DXY posted its first gain after six straight quarters of decline.

"A further surge in commodity prices, weak global equities and the fading impact of dollar-positive Fed comments have left dollar under renewed pressure," said RBC currency analysts in a report.

Risk aversion in currency markets was stoked by falling equities, with MSCI's main world equity index .MIWD00000PUS falling 0.7 percent. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares also shed 2.1 percent.

The market is now bracing for U.S. factory data at 1400 GMT. Economists polled by Reuters forecast the Institute for Supply Management's index of manufacturing activity will contract for a fifth consecutive month in June.

A weak dollar and inflation pressures also helped drive sterling briefly above the psychological $2 level.

The Australian dollar eased against the dollar after the central bank kept interest rates unchanged at a 12-year high of 7.25 percent as expected, and signalled more rate hikes were unlikely in the near term. [ID:nSYD15848]

The Aussie was down 0.2 percent at $0.9563 after earlier falling as low as $0.9535. (Editing by Mike Peacock)

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