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Monday November 24, 2008 - 12:18:52 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dlr falls, yen gives up gains as mkts cheer Citi

Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:11am EST

* Dollar, yen falter as risk aversion cools

* Investors take cue from rallying stock mkts on Citi plan

* Real economy picture remains weak

* German Ifo underlines struggling euro zone economy (releads, adds quotes, updates prices, changes byline)

By Veronica Brown

LONDON, Nov 24 (Reuters) - The dollar and yen gave up broad early gains on Monday as investors eased back from risk averse positions, taking a cue from stock market cheer after the U.S. government rode to the rescue of banking giant Citigroup (C.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

The low-yielding yen, which has been a major beneficiary from the unwinding of riskier investments, had initially pushed higher when news of the bailout for Citi first surfaced, sceptical of its impact on the financial crisis.

But while investors remain broadly risk averse due to ongoing concerns about a global recession, they were willing to pause for breath and applaud the U.S. government's $300 billion-plus lifeline to prevent the collapse of the world's largest banking group [ID:nSP406175].

European stocks rose roughly 4 percent to 791.57 , while U.S. stock market futures SPc1 DJc1 NDc1 were all pointing to a positive Wall Street open.

"Looking back on it, I think the market is concluding that maybe it was the wrong thing to let Lehman fail," said Chris Turner, head of FX strategy at ING in London.

"So maybe this (Citi package) is the new model for how you handle the systemically-important banks in the States," he added.

By 1143 GMT, the euro was up 0.9 percent on the day versus the dollar at $1.2691 <EUR=>, while it also rose 0.3 percent to 121.02 yen <EURJPY=>.

Reflecting broad pressure on the dollar, the U.S. unit slipped 0.5 percent to 95.34 yen <JPY=>, while sterling followed the rallying direction of UK share prices and rose 0.7 percent to $1.5000 <GBP=>.

Some traders said dollar/yen losses were limited by news that U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama will nominate New York Federal Reserve Bank President Timothy Geithner and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers as his top economic lieutenants.

REAL ECONOMY CLOUDS

The euro briefly dipped to session lows earlier in the session after a below-consensus reading for the German business climate gave investors an economic reality check, underlining weakness in the German economy and keeping expectations high for cuts in euro zone interest rates [ID: nBEB002256].

The Munich-based Ifo economic research institute said that its business climate index declined to 85.8 in November from 90.2 in October, hitting its lowest since February 1993. The reading was weaker than forecasts of a 88.7 reading.

"(The reading) was truly awful and suggests that the fall in output in the euro zone's largest economy gained both momentum and traction in the fourth quarter," said Tom Vosa, head of market economics at nabCapital in London.

"The sharp slowdown seen in Germany and elsewhere will put pressure on the ECB to cut rates aggressively," he said, adding that the ECB may cut rates by 75 or even 100 basis points from 3.25 percent next month.

In Britain, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his finance minister, Alistair Darling, are expected to announce a package totalling up to 20 billion pounds ($30 billion), by cutting sales tax and offering help for businesses, low earners and struggling home owners. [ID:nL0672267]

The British economy will shrink by 1.5 percent next year, and for a total six quarters in a row, according to a forecast from the National Institute of Social and Economic Research.

(Additional reporting by Naomi Tajitsu in London)

(Reporting by Veronica Brown; Editing by Tony Austin)

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