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Tuesday May 12, 2009 - 10:43:50 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dlr at 4-mth low as risk rally boosts oil, shares

Tue May 12, 2009 6:35am EDT

* Dollar index at 4-month low as oil, shares rebound

* Economic data supports commodity FX, high-yielders

* Persistent optimism on global economy fuels risk rally

(Adds quotes, updates prices)

By Jamie McGeever

LONDON, May 12 (Reuters) - The dollar slid to a four-month low on Tuesday as economic data strengthened the view that the global recession is bottoming, boosting stocks and oil to the benefit of currencies like sterling and the Australian dollar.

A batch of UK reports including retail sales, housing market and industrial production data as well as economic indicators from Australia and China stoked the view that the "green shoots" of economic recovery may indeed be deep-rooted.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet on Monday echoed that view, saying the global economy is at an "inflection point" and could turn the corner soon.

Oil prices jumped to a six-month high just shy of $60 a barrel and European shares shrugged off declines in Asia and overnight on Wall Street to rise 0.5 percent on the day.

"People detect this turn in manufacturing ... and now Trichet seems to be on board, which is a good thing," said Michael Hart, currency strategist at Citigroup in London.

Hart advised caution, however, noting the numbers are merely "less catastrophic" and that the currency market's technical picture is triggering much of the dollar selling from model funds.

The driver behind the latest fall in the dollar against most other currencies bar the yen was a report that showed British manufacturing output fell 0.1 percent on the month in March, beating analysts' forecast for 0.8 percent fall. [ID:nONS004227]

Neville Hill, director, European Economics at Credit Suisse, was more bullish on the economic outlook.

"If the production numbers continue their steady improvement in the next few months (as the PMI surveys suggest), then a slight increase in UK GDP in Q2 is possible. If that's the case, then the recession may already be over," he said.

At 1015 GMT the dollar index was down 0.6 percent on the day at 82.31 .DXY, having earlier hit 82.271, the lowest since early January.

The dollar index is well on track for its third consecutive close below the 200-day moving average and is below the longer-term technical support -- now resistance -- of the 200-day moving average at 82.755.

The euro rose 0.7 percent to $1.3670 <EUR=>, peaking earlier at $1.3677 and is firmly on track for a third daily close above the 200-day moving average and second straight week above the 200-week moving average.

Sterling was up 1.2 percent on the day at $1.5290 <GBP=>, having briefly traded above $1.53 for the first time since January 9.

The Australian dollar was up 1 percent at $0.7655 <AUD=> and the U.S. dollar was flat against the yen at 97.55 yen <JPY=>.


Earlier, data from China showed a month-on-month rise in exports, even though the annual figure fell sharply. This was also offset by other data indicating the pace of Chinese fixed-asset investment growth in urban areas has gathered momentum.

This suggested Beijing is succeeding in cushioning the effect on the economy of contracting exports. [ID:nBJB000608] [ID:nPEK48500]

Australia's government on Tuesday unveiled its largest deficit on record, cut its growth predictions and raised its jobless forecasts. But even this failed to put a significant dent into the global risk rally.

Nor did the International Monetary Fund's call on Tuesday for Europe to take bolder steps to fix its banks and better coordinate national policies to improve the chances of emerging from recession next year.

"In the bigger picture not much has changed. The green shoots still have roots," said Maurice Pomery, managing director of Strategic Alpha in London.

For more on the Australian data and UK figures that showed the sharpest rise in retail sales for three years in April, see ECONAU ECONGB.

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