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Saturday February 14, 2009 - 11:25:30 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-US dollar gains on yen, falls against euro

Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:42pm EST

* G7 statement does not mention yen or pound

* Euro shrugs off record euro zone GDP fall

* Sterling off highs after Lloyds news

(Recasts, updates prices)

By Nick Olivari

NEW YORK, Feb 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar climbed against the yen but fell against other major currencies on Friday as investors found nothing new in the communique from the Group of Seven finance chiefs at their Rome meeting.

The G7 draft statement, seen by Reuters and released late in the New York session, made no reference to specific currencies other than China's yuan. For more details, [nFCA000146]

The G7 group of industrialised nations welcomed China's commitment to a more flexible exchange rate, which should lead to a stronger yuan currency, the draft statement said.

"The G7 said nothing new of fresh or that wasn't anticipated," said Marc Chandler, a currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York.

Some investors had been anticipating the statement would single out the Japanese currency for excessive strength though there were signals that would not be the case.

Earlier in the week, Japanese Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa said Japan will act decisively against excessive currency moves, but suggested singling out the strong yen in a G7 communique would not work while the damage from the global economic crisis is spreading.

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling said on Friday that he believed any discussion of foreign exchange would be "in general terms."

In late afternoon New York trading, the dollar rose 1.2 percent against the yen to 91.93 yen <JPY=>. The dollar gained 0.1 percent for the week against the yen.

The euro also gained on the day against the yen, up 1.4 percent at 118.49 <EURJPY=>.


Earlier bleak euro zone GDP figures had raised concerns G7 leaders may discuss the pound's recent weakness against the euro.

In fact, sterling rallied early, with investors squaring market positions ahead of the G7. For details, see [ID:nLD18359]

But the pound came off its highs pressured by sharp falls in UK banking stocks after Lloyds Banking Group unveiled a hefty loss related to its HBOS subsidiary.

Lloyds said HBOS lost about 8.5 billion pounds last year, news which sent shares in Lloyds and other UK banks tumbling and pushed the UK's FTSE share index into the red.

Sterling last traded at $1.4382 <GBP=>, up 0.9 percent. The euro fell 0.9 percent against sterling to 0.8938 <EURGBP=>.

Most analysts were already convinced there would be no major pronouncements on the yen and sterling, and once the meeting ends markets will again look to equities again for direction.

"We are still hinging on risk appetite and we are keying off equities," said Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist, at TD Securities in Toronto.

"That story on mortgage subsidy gave equities a lift including the dollar versus the yen and there's still some carry-over from that."

Investors tend to sell the dollar and yen with increased optimism for global economic prospects.

Markets welcomed the news that the Obama administration may unveil a broad plan to put a floor under the housing market. [ID:nN12553515].

A rising wave of U.S. mortgage delinquencies has saddled the global banking system with big losses that have led banks to recoil from lending, choking economies around the world.

The White House though, cautioned on Friday about having unreasonable expectations about President Barack Obama's plan to stem home foreclosures. [nWBT010644]

The euro was little changed <EUR=> against the dollar at $1.2861, generally shrugging off data showing the euro zone economy in a deeper recession than expected. The euro was down 0.7 percent against the dollar on the week. (Reporting by Nick Olivari and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss)

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