Friday January 9, 2009 - 12:55:24 GMT
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Reuters - www.reuters.com
FOREX NEWS-Dlr slips vs yen ahead of US jobs data
Fri Jan 9, 2009 7:48am EST
* Dollar slips vs yen before key U.S. jobs data
* Euro pressured by mixed euro zone economic data
* Activity subdued ahead of U.S. payroll data
* Payroll report expected to show loss of 550,000 jobs
(Adds comment, updates prices)
By Naomi Tajitsu
LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) - The dollar slipped against the yen on Friday ahead of U.S. payrolls data due later in the day that were expected to show a massive reduction in jobs, while the euro slipped after a mixed bag of regional economic data.
The December U.S. job report is expected to show a fall of 550,000 jobs and show a higher unemployment rate, but much of the news may already have been discounted following a bleak U.S. private-sector jobs report on Wednesday.
Currency moves in London were driven by position adjustments ahead of the data, analysts said, adding that risks were tilted towards a slight upside in the dollar as a grim reading has already been factored into the market.
"The market is now expecting an extremely weak report, and so risk reward is heading the opposite direction," said Naeem Wahid, currency strategist at Bank of Scotland Treasury Services in London.
"A figure in the 650,000 area wouldn't be a big shock, so if it doesn't come out that weak there could be a small upside for the dollar."
Following Wednesday's grim U.S. ADP report, which showed private-sector job cuts of 693,000, economists have revised their forecasts for U.S. nonfarm payrolls in December to show job losses of 550,000, from an original Reuters poll estimate of 500,000.
Forecasts ranged from a loss of 750,000 jobs to a decline of 400,000 [ID:nN08529684].
The data is due out at 1330 GMT.
The dollar fell 0.4 percent to 90.67 yen, near 90.55 yen touched earlier in the day, its weakest since the start of the year. The U.S. currency .DXY slipped 0.1 percent to 81.476 against a basket of currencies.
By 1205 GMT, the euro was little changed at $1.3714, having slipped to a session low of $1.3633 earlier in the day.
The euro was briefly buoyed on news that Russia reached agreement to end a gas dispute with Ukraine but analysts said that movements were ultimately subdued, even as euro/dollar volatility remained significantly high above 20 percent . [ID:nL9190052]
WEAK EURO ZONE DATA
Figures on Friday showed a bigger-than-expected drop in French industrial output, adding to the argument that the euro zone economy is further deteriorating, and keeping selling pressure on the euro. [ID:nL9720713]
The euro ultimately received little cheer from an unexpected rise in euro zone retail sales, as the outlook for consumer demand remains weak amid plunging business morale and growing unemployment. [ID:nL9217224]
Friday's readings came on the heels of data on Thursday showing euro zone economic sentiment set record lows in December amid rising unemployment, and inflation expectations tumbled.
Given such an economic picture, analysts expect that the European Central Bank will have to continue cutting interest rates, having already cut them to 2.5 percent.
Market participants expect a rate cut of 50 basis points or more when the ECB holds a policy-setting meeting next week. [ECB/INT]
"The ECB will need to cut by more than is currently priced in with downside implications for the euro that may be amplified by the ECB's seeming intransigence on policy easing," analysts at Barclays Capital said in a note.
Some ECB policymakers have softened their stance as euro zone inflation has fallen and the economy is expected to deteriorate further. But market players do not as yet expect rates in the euro zone to fall as dramatically as those in the United States or Britain.
(Additional reporting by Tamawa Desai; Editing by Jason Neely)
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