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Monday August 18, 2008 - 21:03:44 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-US dollar pauses for breath as commodities rebound

 

Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:48pm EDT

* U.S. dollar index halts 11-day winning streak

* Gold's rebound sparks profit-taking, lifts AUD, NZD

* U.S. dollar-bullish story remains intact (Adds details, updates prices, changes byline)

By Lucia Mutikani

NEW YORK, Aug 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar eased off a seven-month peak against the yen on Monday, halting an 11-day advance against a basket of currencies, as falling stocks and rebounding gold saw investors skim profits off a recent rally.

Analysts said the greenback's move, which also saw it retreat from a six-month high against the euro, was only temporary and expected market participants to use the pullback as a buying opportunity.

"It has been a tremedously unusual run for the dollar. You will have to go back to pre-euro (days) to find this kind of concentrated move basically over a week-and-a-half. So you can expect some consolidation," said Joseph Trevisani, chief market analyst at FX Solutions in Saddle River, New Jersey.

"When I looked at the charts ... those gradual declines which kept going hour after hour were new positions being established. Some of them were shorter-term and some of those have taken profits. I am sure those positions will be shorted again if you get euro above 1.48 (against the dollar)," Trevisani said.

Gold led commodities higher, taking some edge off the dollar's powerful comeback. Weaker U.S. stocks also weighed on the currency in a session thin on economic data.

Steadier U.S. growth, oil's slide from record peaks and a deteriorating outlook outside the United States have underpinned the dollar in the last few weeks.

The dollar index on the ICE Futures Exchange dipped as low as 76.776 .DXY, retreating from a seven-month high of 77.268 struck on Friday and ending 11 consecutive trading days of gains. The index, which measures the dollar's value against six currencies, was last down 0.1 percent at 77.120.

The euro rose to session highs around $1.4767, but retreated to about $1.4693, flat on the day. This occurred as oil prices surrendered earlier gains in volatile trade.

The single currency earlier fell to a six-month low of $1.4645, according to electronic trading platform EBS. It has has dropped about 8 percent against the dollar from its record peak hit last month.

STRONG DOLLAR VIEW STAYS

"The market still views any euro rebound as selling opportunity, given the view that the trend here is for a stronger dollar. That will continue to cap the euro's upside," said Omer Esiner, currency strategist at Ruesch International in Washington.

German economic sentiment data due on Tuesday is expected to add to a raft of negative reports from the euro zone and views that the European Central Bank will have to cut interest rates soon to support growth.

U.S. housing and producer inflation figures also due out on Tuesday are unlikely to reveal anything new, analysts said.

U.S. stocks declined on prospects of more losses from the mortgage crisis, contributing to pulling the dollar from seven-month highs around 110.70 yen touched last Friday, according to Reuters Dealing. The dollar was last down 0.3 percent at 110.11 yen.

Sharp declines in U.S. home finance providers Fannie Mae (FNM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Freddie Mac (FRE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reminded investors that the credit crisis and housing slump were far from over, dragging stocks on Wall Street lower.

The rise in commodity prices, which saw spot gold bounce off a nine-month low, to as high as $803.65 per ounce <XAU=>, boosted Australian <AUD=> and New Zealand <NZD=> currencies.

The Aussie dollar touched a session peak of US$0.8756, on pace for its strongest one-day gain in almost four weeks. The Kiwi jumped 0.8 percent to US$0.7886.

Both the Aussie and Kiwi dollars have slumped in recent sessions as investors priced in expectations of interest rate cuts as their domestic economies falter. (Additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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