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Wednesday October 1, 2008 - 11:09:20 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dlr consolidates qtr-end surge, US bailout in focus

Wed Oct 1, 2008 5:37am EDT

* Dlr index eases .DXY after eye-watering rally

* Focus on U.S. government bank bailout plan

* U.S. investor, fund repatriation behind Tuesday's surge

* European manufacturing data shows further contraction

(recasts, changes dateline, byline, adds quotes, updates


By Veronica Brown

LONDON, Oct 1 (Reuters) - The dollar eased against a basket of currencies and the euro on Wednesday, after a breath-taking surge in the previous session fed by end-quarter activity and talk of possible consensus on a $700 billion bank bailout plan.

The U.S. currency rose 2.5 percent against a basket of six major currencies on Tuesday .DXY -- its biggest one-day percentage jump in more than 15 years.

Respite for the dollar came from end-quarter funding demand, while investors were also comforted by news that the U.S. Senate will vote later on Wednesday on a new version of the Wall Street rescue package.

"A good chunk of yesterday was quarter-end funding demand for dollars. In addition to that was hope that the bailout plan would go through and fears over the euro zone banking sector," UBS senior currency strategist Geoff Kendrick said.

"Obviously not all of those factors have gone away. Fears over the euro zone banking sector may continue to see the euro under pressure," he added.

Investors have run for cover, spooked by financial crisis contagion with banks in Britain, Belgium, Russia and Iceland rescued by authorities this week -- prompting huge cash injections into the global banking system by central banks in an attempt to relieve frozen money markets.

By 0900 GMT, the euro was up 0.2 percent on the day at $1.4117 <EUR=> as the dollar's rally was consolidated, while the U.S. currency was little changed at 106.14 yen <JPY=>.

The U.S. currency staged a sharp rebound on Tuesday from a four-month low of 103.49 yen hit in early trade. The euro was up 0.2 percent at 150.10 yen <EURJPY=>.

Overnight <USDOND=> and three-month interbank rates <USD3MD=> stayed high, showing banks are still scrambling for dollars even at the start of a new quarter.


Traders and analysts said the market's focal point remains whether Congress will be able to pass a package to buy toxic assets from struggling banks in an effort to revitalise strained lending markets.

A revamped U.S. financial rescue plan aimed at restoring market confidence faces a vote by the Senate late on Wednesday, reviving hopes that the lawmakers can turn the tide in the global banking crisis. [ID:nL1596334]

"While the dollar lacks clear direction, investors are likely to be moved between hope and despair by developments in Washington," said a senior trader at a Japanese brokerage.

On the data front, the prognosis for Europe remained shaky. Euro zone manufacturing activity fell to a near seven-year low in September, below the flash estimate [nLT503909].

The release marks the fourth consecutive month the PMI index has been below the 50 mark that divides growth from contraction and will provide worrying reading for the European Central Bank as it faces a stuttering economy and above-target inflation.

The ECB, which gives its rate decision on Thursday, is widely expected to leave borrowing costs on hold at 4.25 percent. (Reporting by Veronica Brown; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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