Thursday May 28, 2009 - 11:18:54 GMT
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Reuters - www.reuters.com
FOREX NEWS-Dollar rallies vs yen, NZ dollar shines
Thu May 28, 2009 6:53am EDT
* Japanese demand for overseas assets hits yen
* Dollar supported after Moody's affirms US credit rating
* Kiwi dollar rises after S&P lifts NZ outlook to stable
* Focus on yet another U.S. Treasury auction
By Ian Chua
LONDON, May 28 (Reuters) - The dollar rallied to a 2-1/2
week high against a broadly weaker yen on Thursday as a spike in
U.S. bond yields and Moody's affirming the United States' prized
triple-A rating drew Japanese investors into overseas assets.
Yields on 10-year U.S. government bonds have jumped more
than 50 basis points in the last two weeks, driven in part by
worries about the ever-expanding amount of debt needed to fund a
record $1.75 trillion U.S. budget deficit.
U.S. 10-year Treasuries now yield around 3.8 percent
<US10YT=RR> versus 1.5 percent for the Japanese equivalent
The yen also fell sharply against other currencies, shedding
more than 2 percent of its value against the euro and Australian
and New Zealand dollars.
"Japanese investors are bond investors, so the U.S. dollar
bond investments look attractive for them," said Hans-Guenter
Redeker, chief fx strategist at BNP Paribas.
"This is having a spill-over effect into many yen crosses,
including euro/yen trading above the 200-day moving average,
which is actually bringing real money accounts into play."
At 1036 GMT, the dollar was up 1.8 percent at 96.98 yen
<JPY=>, pulling away from a two-month low of 93.85 yen hit last
week and briefly scaling 97 yen for the first time in more than
two weeks. The euro was up 2.2 percent at 134.71 yen <EURJPY=R>.
Against a basket of six major currencies, the dollar .DXY
was barely changed on the day at 80.722 and within sight of a
five-month low at just below 80.00 set on Friday.
The euro touched a one-week low of $1.3793 earlier on
Thursday but at 1036 GMT was up 0.4 percent on the day at
In contrast to the out-of-favour yen, the New Zealand dollar
<NZD=> rose broadly after Standard & Poor's agency lifted the
outlook for the country's rating to stable from negative and
reaffirmed its AA-plus rating following the government's annual
The New Zealand dollar gained 3.6 percent to 60.57 yen
<NZDJPY=R> and was up 1.8 percent versus the U.S. dollar at
Data from the Ministry of Finance showed Japanese investors
returned from the Golden Week holidays and bought foreign bonds
last week, noted RBC Capital Market's global head of FX strategy
"Anecdotal evidence suggests this flow picked up
substantially this week and is a major driver of JPY
underperformance," Cole said in a note.
Moody's Investors Services affirmed its top rating for the
world's largest economy on Wednesday, but warned that if the
U.S. failed to reduce debt levels once the economy returned to
growth then its top grade could come under pressure.
The recent sharp rise in U.S. yields has come despite strong
demand at the two Treasury auctions this week -- notably from
foreign investors -- which has soothed some concern over the
long-term U.S. sovereign credit ratings outlook and supported
Investors' attention now shifts to the sale of seven-year
paper due later in the day from the U.S. Treasury Department,
which is selling a total of $101 billion of Treasury bonds this
For the euro, the key focus will be next week's European
Central Bank policy meeting where interest rates are expected to
stay at 1 percent and details of the bank's 60 billion covered
bond purchase programme are scheduled to be announced.
The euro remained well supported against the dollar, and was
last seen at around 87.05 pence <EURGBP=>, but it is threatening
to make a decisive fall below key technical support at the
200-day moving average around 86.80 pence.
(Additional reporting by Jamie McGeever; editing by David
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