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Tuesday November 18, 2008 - 11:53:15 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Euro slips, dragged lower by weak shares

Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:29am EST

* Euro/dollar <EUR=> slips 0.3 pct to $1.2605

* Weak shares support dollar as investors dump risky assets

* ECB's Trichet to speak later in the day (Adds comment, updates throughout)

By Naomi Tajitsu

LONDON, Nov 18 (Reuters) - The euro fell against the dollar and the yen on Tuesday, as a stream of evidence that the global economy is continuing to suffer kept demand intact for unwinding risky positions in favour of low-yielding currencies.

Weak European stocks kept investors wary of risk, after Asian and U.S. stocks fell on news that Citigroup was axing 15 percent of its work force [ID:nN17468336] and crippled U.S. automakers were desperate for government loans [ID:nLI286476].

"There was a push down in equities last night and that has extended into this morning, so we've seen a continuation in dollar strength and weakness in yen crosses," said Maurice Pomery, head of currencies at IDEAGlobal.

He added that the frantic dumping in shares and other assets seen in past months had simmered down as investors complete deleveraging trades that cut back on risk, and that markets were awaiting more bad news that could trigger another wave of risk-averse selling.

Investors awaited a speech by European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet later in the day for clues on how much more the bank may cut interest rates after this month's 50 basis point cut to 3.25 percent. Recent in the past few weeks has shown that the euro zone has fallen into recession.

Also on Tuesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify to the U.S. House Financial Services Committee about the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The euro <EUR=> fell roughly 0.3 percent to $1.2605 by 1120 GMT, pulling back from a session high of $1.2664 earlier in the day, as European shares .FTEU3 fell 1.6 percent. Against the yen <EURJPY=R>, the euro was down 0.4 percent at 121.40 yen.

The dollar was little changed at 96.30 yen <JPY=>. It rose against the Australian dollar <AUD=>, pushing the antipodean currency 0.3 percent lower.

The Australian dollar stayed under selling pressure after the Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday reinforced expectations of more interest rate cuts [ID:nSYD83500].

Sterling <GBP=> was little changed at $1.5005, erasing earlier gains to $1.5093 after a bigger-than-expected fall in UK consumer price figures showed that inflation is coming off recent peaks [nLI422016].

Lower inflation would clear the way for more interest rate cuts by the Bank of England following its shock 150 basis point chop this month that left rates at 3.0 percent.

Sterling has been clobbered in past months on the view that the UK recession may be more severe than other nations', while aggressive rate cuts have diminished the currency's yield advantage.

Markets around the world have been hit by the view that the depth and scope of a global recession may be extensive, and analysts said that investors were coming to terms with the possibility that there would be no quick fix for these problems. Following months of highly volatile trade which has seen the low-yielding dollar and yen surge as risky assets fall out of fashion, market participants said that currencies may have entered a consolidation phase. "We've been running a long marathon. It feels like some fatigue has set into the market and we may finally see some consolidation," said David Bloom, global head of forex research at HSBC in London.

He added that it was possible that currencies would enter a period of range trading before the year-end, but added that those ranges could be larger than normal.

(Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by David Stamp and Victoria Main)

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