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Thursday June 11, 2009 - 10:59:30 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar eases on U.S. debt concerns

Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:16am EDT

* Dollar index down 0.4 percent at 79.904 .DXY

* Talk of BRICs diversification weigh on dollar

* High yielders and commodity-linked currencies gain

* Investors await 30-yr Treasury bonds, U.S. retail sales

(Adds quote, updates prices)

By Tamawa Desai

LONDON, June 11 (Reuters) - The dollar edged down against a basket of currencies on Thursday as rising U.S. bond yields raised concerns about burgeoning U.S. debt, and on speculation big emerging countries may move out of U.S. dollar assets.

Russia said on Wednesday it would divert some of its reserves from U.S. Treasuries to IMF bonds, a move that may be highlighted when the world's largest emerging countries meet next week.

Higher-yielding and commodity-linked currencies also gained against the U.S. currency on the back of views the global recession may be bottoming, as stock and oil prices gained.

"The concern over the scale of supply coming to the U.S. debt market has been exacerbated by the moves of some major central banks to diversify out of U.S. fixed income investments and into IMF bond denominated in SDRs," said Derek Halpenny, European head of global currency research in London.

But market players were hesitant to take big positions before gauging the reaction to a 30-year U.S. Treasury bonds auction scheduled later in the day.

U.S. Treasury prices fell on Wednesday, sending benchmark yields up to 4.0 percent for the first time in eight months, after an auction of 10-year notes.

Overall demand and a key proxy for foreign interest were both robust, but a high yield at the auction was above market expectations.

Rising U.S. bond yields have so far boosted the dollar on the basis that it reflected improving U.S. economic conditions. Rising yields have also boosted appetite for U.S. paper from so-called "real money" accounts hungry for yield as interest rates in most major economies stand at record low levels as central banks try to stimulate their ailing economies.

However, the market remains cautious if bond yields start rising sharply on concerns about the U.S. fiscal situation given its ballooning debt.

"Rising U.S. Treasury yields have not acted as a negative yet, but we are very cautious," said Hans Redeker, global head of FX strategy at BNP Paribas in London.

The dollar index, a gauge of the greenback's performance against six other major currencies, fell 0.4 percent to 79.904 .DXY from late U.S. trade on Wednesday.

The euro rose 0.4 percent to $1.4031 <EUR=>, resuming its rise towards a more than five-month high of $1.4339 touched last week before falling sharply near $1.38 earlier this week.

The euro was down 0.1 percent at 137.12 yen <EURJPY=R>.

The dollar slipped 0.4 percent to 97.75 yen <JPY=>.

Markets were stirred after Russia's central bank said it would cut U.S. Treasury purchases and buy IMF-backed bonds. China has also said it would purchase IMF-backed bonds.

Brazil, Russia, India and China are set to meet in Moscow on June 16, and markets expect further talk about diversification of reserves away from the U.S. dollar.

The New Zealand dollar rose after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) kept its key interest rate steady at a record low 2.5 percent, the first pause in nearly a year, but left the door open to resume easing to combat recession.

The kiwi climbed as high as $0.6442 <NZD=D4> after the decision, up 2.2 percent on the day. The currency rose around one percent to 62.93 yen <NZDJPY=R>.

Traders are keeping an eye on U.S. retail sales, which are expected to show a 0.5 percent rise in May after falling 0.4 percent the previous month.

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