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Friday September 5, 2008 - 20:02:45 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar edges higher, but retreats from 11-month highs

Fri Sep 5, 2008 3:49pm EDT

* Dollar slips from 11-month high versus euro

* U.S. economy loses jobs for eighth straight month

* Jobless rate highest since matching 6.1 pct in Sept 2003 (Updates prices, adds details, changes byline)

By Vivianne Rodrigues

NEW YORK, Sept 5 (Reuters) - The U.S dollar edged higher versus the euro on Friday but retreated from 11-month highs after government data showed the U.S. economy lost jobs for the eighth straight month and the unemployment rate jumped.

The ongoing weakness in the U.S. labor market cast doubts about the resilience of the U.S. economy, but with European economies in trouble also the U.S. dollar's uptrend of the past month remained intact.

"While today's weaker-than-expected U.S. employment report for August may provide the euro with some respite, the euro zone's activity and sentiment indicators are also deteriorating," said Samarjit Shankar, global FX strategist at Bank of New York Mellon in New York.

"This is likely to weigh on EUR/USD in the coming weeks," he said.

The Labor Department said 84,000 jobs were lost in August, higher than the 75,000 that economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast, while data for June and July were revised to show bigger job losses also. The unemployment rate also rose, to its highest since September 2003. For details see [ID:nN05415312].

After a volatile session, the euro was slightly lower at $1.4235 <EUR=> in late afternoon trading. The euro earlier hit an 11-month low at $1.4197, according to Reuters data.

Against the yen, the dollar recouped earlier losses and last traded at 107.10 yen <JPY=>, up 0.5 percent on the day.

The ICE Futures U.S. dollar index, which tracks the value of the greenback against a basket of six currencies, was also slightly higher at 78.930 .DXY, after seeing a new 12-month high on Thursday.


Financial markets on Friday reconsidered the likely course of Federal Reserve rate policy after the August jobs report.

Short-term interest rate futures FFF9 FFV8, which show market sentiment toward Fed policy, now price a small chance for a rate cut by year end, after suggesting for months that the Fed's next move would be a rate increase. [ID:nN05419613].

Nick Bennenbroek, head of currency strategy at Wells Fargo Bank in New York, said the negative impact of the August payrolls report on the dollar is likely to be limited.

Investors "seem reluctant to give up their stronger dollar bias," he said in a note. "The dollar is down after the report, albeit reluctantly. Still, we don't see anything in this report that should add to the dollar's already remarkable surge."

The dollar has rallied sharply against the euro in the past month, buoyed by a sharp drop in crude oil prices and expectations that the U.S. economy would outperform those of Europe and Asia.

The yen, on the other hand, had hit two-year highs against the Australian and New Zealand dollars in overnight trade, benefiting from a flight from riskier carry trades. On Friday, however, the yen had surrendered its gains against most major currencies, but risk aversion remains a major theme.

Market players said investors were exiting leveraged carry trades, or positions funded by borrowing yen at low rates to buy higher-yielding currencies and commodities.

Traders cited talk of more hedge funds going under after news that Ospraie Management LLC, the world's biggest commodities hedge fund, was forced to close its flagship fund this week. (Additional reporting by Wanfeng Zhou and Lucia Mutikani; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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