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Wednesday October 8, 2008 - 12:46:06 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar loses traction after coordinated rate cuts

Wed Oct 8, 2008 8:21am EDT

* Dlr index falls after leading central banks slash rates

* Dlr/yen back above 100 yen as uneasy calm descends

* Stock markets cut losses as panic selling eases off

(recasts, adds quotes, update prices, changes byline)

By Veronica Brown

LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - The dollar fell against a basket of currencies on Wednesday after leading global central banks announced rate cuts in an effort to stem haemorrhaging markets engulfed in the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.

The Fed said it was cutting its key federal funds rate by 50 basis points to 1.5 percent. China, the European Central Bank (ECB) and central banks in Britain, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland also cut rates in the coordinated response which analysts had been demanding.

Prior to the central bank action, currency investors had pushed the Japanese yen to multi-year highs against the euro and high yielding currencies in a rush to offload risk as global stock markets plummeted.

Analysts said the long-called for central bank action may mark a turning point in investors approach to risk, which could see the U.S. currency fall further as it had previously benefitted from repatriation and dollar-funding flows.

"The coordinated action is aiming to stabilise investor risk appetite and that is seen as a negative for the dollar, as it has been a sort of safe-haven. Investors had lost complete confidence in global assets," said Lee Hardman, currency economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi-UFJ. "This may be a turning point of extreme risk aversion if we continue to see decisive action from financial authorities."

By 1206 GMT, the dollar had fallen 0.6 percent against a basket of six major currencies to 80.602 .DXY. Earlier this week the dollar index had hit its highest since August last year at 81.745.

The U.S. dollar pared earlier losses against the yen to stand at 100.73 <JPY=> having earlier hit 6-1/2 month lows below 99 yen.

Prior to the coordinated rate action, the U.S. unit had been on track for its biggest weekly loss against the Japanese currency since the 1998 Long Term Capital Management crisis.

Meanwhile the euro, which had earlier hit three-year lows at 134.20 yen <EURJPY=> steadied to 138.11. The single currency also rose 0.7 percent against the dollar to $1.3712 <EUR=>.

Stock markets cut hefty losses, with the MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS paring losses to come off earlier four-year lows. It last stood down 1.5 percent on the day.

Attention will now turn to Washington, where finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of Seven countries meet on Friday.

(Additional reporting by Tamawa Kadoya and Jessica Mortimer in London)

(Reporting by Veronica Brown; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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