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Wednesday October 8, 2008 - 20:59:50 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Yen rallies as rate cuts fail to boost markets

Wed Oct 8, 2008 4:07pm EDT

* Yen soars on fear central banks easing is not sufficient

* Fed leads global coordinated rate cut, eases by 50 bps

* U.S. dollar falls against basket of currencies (Adds comments, updates prices, changes byline)

By Vivianne Rodrigues

NEW YORK, Oct 8 (Reuters) - The yen rallied broadly on Wednesday, hitting its highest level in three years against the euro, on fears coordinated central bank rate cuts may not be sufficient to thaw the frozen credit markets.

Initial euphoria over the half percentage point rate cuts by the banks quickly fizzled. U.S. stocks seesawed in volatile trading and credit markets remained effectively gridlocked. High-yielding currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars tumbled as risk aversion remained high.

"It's essentially too little, too late. Liquidity is still at a premium right now and that's weighing on the market's risk appetite," said Kathy Lien, director of currency research at GFT Forex in New York.

"Unfortunately, they should have taken this action before the Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates a full percentage point earlier in the week, but the RBA has essentially raised the bar," she added.

In late afternoon trading in New York, the dollar traded down 1.5 percent at 99.810 yen <JPY=>. The euro fell against the yen 0.8 percent to 136.59 yen <EURJPY=>, after falling as low as 134.20 yen, the lowest level since August 2005, according to Reuters data.

The U.S. dollar remained weaker against a basket of six currencies, but had come off lows hit earlier in the session following the global easing announcement, which some analysts said curbed the recent safe-haven bid for the greenback.

The ICE Futures U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six currencies, was last off 0.3 percent at 80.893 .DXY, after hitting a low of 80.399.

The euro last traded up 0.5 percent at $1.3682 <EUR=>.

"The dollar can remain underpinned by the notion that interest rates abroad are likely to fall at a faster pace than they are here," said Omer Esiner, senior FX analyst at Ruesch International in Washington. "The euro can get some more near term support support from the idea that officials there are trying to get ahead of the curve."

High-yielding commodity currencies tumbled, with the Australian and New Zealand dollars falling to five-year lows earlier at US$0.6439 <AUD=> and US$0.5791 <NZD=>, respectively.

Against the yen, the Aussie dollar lost about 5 percent to 67.63 <AUDJPY=R> and the kiwi fell 3.7 percent to 61.16 <NZDJPY=>.


In an attempt to stem the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, central banks around the world cut interest rates by a half-percentage point on Wednesday in the first coordinated move since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. For more, see [ID:nL8116323].

That cut lowered the Fed's benchmark overnight lending rate to 1.5 percent and took its discount rate to 1.75 percent. The European Central Bank cut rates to 3.75 percent, while the Bank of England took its rate to 4.5 percent.

The coordinated move followed steep losses in world equity markets. Overnight, the Nikkei average plunged 9.4 percent, its biggest drop since the 1987 stock market crash. For more, see [ID:nT109149].

Financial markets are expecting the Fed and other major central banks to further lower interest rates and inject liquidity, analysts said.

"Everybody is looking to the U.S. and Europe to provide cues that this crisis is being contained," said Aviral Rai, senior managing director at Pali Capital in New York. "But the truth is no one can really see the bottom of this problem and this lack of global confidence has been fueling a sell-off." (Additional reporting by Wanfeng Zhou in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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