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Tuesday November 11, 2008 - 23:14:57 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar rises to 2-week highs on global growth worries

Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:59pm EST

* Dollar rises to two-week high vs basket of currencies

* Dollar, yen underpinned by global growth worries

* Sterling hits record low vs euro

* For up-to-the-minute market news, please click FXNews

(Recasts, adds comments, changes byline)

By Vivianne Rodrigues

NEW YORK, Nov 11 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rallied to a two-week high against a basket of currencies on Tuesday as worries about a deteriorating global economy prompted investors to shun riskier assets and flock to the safety of the greenback.

A sell-off in stock markets worldwide further dampened investors' appetite for risk, boosting demand for the dollar and the Japanese yen. A break of the recent trading ranges further exacerbated selling pressure on the euro, analysts said.

"The outlook for global growth and for most equities remains dismal," said Jessica Hoversen, a fixed-income and currency analyst at MF Global in Chicago. "The U.S. dollar is benefiting from diminished risk appetite. It is still seen as a safe asset."

In late trading in New York, the ICE Futures U.S. dollar index, which tracks the value of the greenback against a basket of six currencies, was up 1.4 percent at 87.159 .DXY after rising as high as 87.268, the strongest level since Oct. 28.

The euro <EUR=> also fell earlier to a two-week low at $1.2508 and last traded down 1.6 percent at $1.2528.

U.S. stocks tumbled as production cuts at aluminum maker Alcoa, fears of a cash drain at automaker General Motors and signs the Chinese economy is faltering heightened fears of a global economic slump.

"The overall driver is just the slowing global outlook and the dollar generally does a bit better in that environment, not to mention that the selling is focusing on the euro zone, UK and Australia, all of which are facing incoming weak data that likely will continue to highlight downside risks in their economies," said Brian Dolan, head of currency research at Forex.com in Bedminster, New Jersey.

RISK APPETITE

The yen traded broadly higher as worries over slowing growth kept up the pressure on carry trades, in which low-yielding currencies like the Japanese currency are used to buy assets in higher-yielding ones.

"With the depressing news on the global economy continuing to spill out, the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen rally," said Andrew Busch, global FX strategist at BMO Capital Markets in Chicago. "The recession is spreading as the credit crisis winds blow the radioactive waste further and further throughout the world."

The dollar last traded down 0.3 percent at 97.74 yen <JPY=> and the euro fell 1.8 percent to 122.51 yen <EURJPY=>.

Higher-yielding currencies tumbled, with the Australian dollar trading 1.5 percent lower at US$0.6586 <AUD=>.

The euro came under pressure despite a better-than-expected reading in a key German indicator survey ECON, weighed down by steep losses in crude oil and U.S. stocks.

"For the currency market, the decline in oil prices is bullish for the U.S. dollar and Japanese yen, but bearish for the euro," said Kathy Lien, director of currency research at GFT Forex in New York. "Since the beginning of the year, there has been a 70 percent positive correlation between the euro/dollar and the price of oil."

In other trading, sterling was battered as it fell to its lowest in 12 years on a trade-weighted basis and hit a record low against the euro on concerns that the UK economy will suffer even more than the euro zone.

The euro earlier hit a record high against sterling of 82.14 pence, according to Reuters data <EURGBP=> while the pound fell 1.3 percent against the dollar to $1.5404 <GBP=>.

(Additional reporting by Wanfeng Zhou; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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