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Thursday September 25, 2008 - 11:47:55 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar falls as market awaits US bailout approval

Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:30am EDT

* Dollar down 0.3 pct versus basket of currencies .DXY

* US bailout plan nears approval but uncertainty remains

* Euro zone worries swept aside but recession looms

(Updates prices, adds quotes, changes byline)

By Jessica Mortimer

LONDON, Sept 25 (Reuters) - The dollar fell against a basket of currencies on Thursday as investors continued to fret about whether political wrangling will delay approval of the $700 billion U.S. package to mop up bad bank debt.

After two days of congressional testimonies, U.S. lawmakers are inching towards approving the deal designed to help rescue the beleaguered U.S. financial system. See [nLP616843]

Worries remain, however, about how successful the deal will be in tackling the current crisis, while major concerns persist about the substantial impact on U.S. government finances.

"In general the market tendency is to believe that the bailout deal will get through, albeit probably in a reduced form," UBS currency analyst Geoffrey Yu said.

"The market is in a wait and see attitude. No fresh risk is being taken on and investors are staying away from the dollar, but if the bailout goes through then they may increase risk a bit," he said.

At 1106 GMT, the euro was up 0.4 percent against the dollar <EUR=> at $1.4666, while the dollar fell 0.3 percent against a basket of currencies to 76.769 .DXY.

President George W. Bush will meet Republican and Democratic leaders at 1955 GMT to hammer out the details of the rescue plan, the White House said.

On Wednesday, in an attempt to garner public support for the package, Bush warned the United States was in the middle of a serious financial crisis that could push the economy into recession if the government did not act, but he offered few details about the makeup of the emerging deal. [ID:nN24444366].

European stock markets rose on hopes the U.S. deal would go through fairly soon, but later pared gains on an outlook warning from General Electric (GE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Heightened risk aversion was reflected via a well-bid yen <JPY=>, while jammed money markets showed no sign of letting up.

The interbank cost of borrowing three month dollars, euros and sterling rose further, according to the British Bankers Association's latest daily fixing [nLP648832].

"Money markets show no sign of easing up any time soon and this is filtering through, with investors going into yen, Swiss francs and gold," Yu at UBS said.


The market's focus remains firmly on the U.S. rescue deal, leaving economic fundamentals to the side, even as the euro zone economy looks to be sliding quickly into recession.

The latest GfK consumer sentiment indicator for Germany Thursday unexpectedly showed some improvement, but the figures provided scant comfort after Wednesday's closely-watched German Ifo survey for September slumped sharply.

The GfK market research group also warned that the latest bout of financial market turmoil has "significantly" increased the risk of recession. See [ID:nLO270875].

"Let's not forget the euro zone is moving into recession, it is a very severe situation we're currently facing here," said Michael Klawitter, currency strategist at Dresdner Kleinwort in Frankfurt.

Against the yen, the dollar slipped 0.3 percent to 106.26 yen <JPY=>, despite Japanese data earlier showing the country's trade balance swung into deficit in August for the first time since January as exports slowed and import costs rose.

The euro was little changed versus the yen at 155.34 yen <EURJPY=>.

Later in the session, U.S. durable goods data, new home sales and weekly jobless claims will be closely watched.

(Reporting by Jessica Mortimer; Editing by Ron Askew)

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