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Monday June 15, 2009 - 10:55:55 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar gains broadly; EZ econ concerns dent euro

Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:48am EDT

* Dollar gains as Russia's Kudrin voices confidence in dlr

* EZ econ worries help push euro down 1 pct vs dollar

* Record fall in EZ jobs; IMF chief says worst not over

* G8 finance ministers mull exit strategies; BRIC awaited

(Updates prices, adds quotes)

By Jessica Mortimer

LONDON, June 15 (Reuters) - The dollar gained broadly on Monday after Russia's finance minister expressed confidence in the U.S. currency, while the euro fell sharply against the dollar on concerns about the weakness of the euro zone economy.

Speaking on the sidelines of a Group of Eight finance ministers in Italy, Russia's Alexei Kudrin said the dollar's role as the world's main reserve currency is unlikely to change in the near future [ID:nFCA000184].

This bolstered the dollar, helping it recover further after recent sharp falls against the euro and other major currencies, which had benefitted as optimism that the global economy was on the road to recovery boosted perceived higher risk assets.

The euro was particularly weak, falling more than 1 percent against the dollar on concerns the euro zone economy may be lagging other countries after much weaker-than-expected euro zone industrial production data late last week.

Euro zone employment figures on Monday further highlighted the depth of the recession facing the region as it lost a record 1.22 million jobs during the first quarter of 2009. [ID:nLF560342].

Optimism on the global economy as a whole was also dealt a blow on Monday as International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn warned that the worst of the global economic crisis may be yet to come. [ID:nLF328969].

"The dollar is on a more stable footing after the comments at the G8 from the Russian finance minister, given that Russia is such a large holder of U.S. Treasuries," BTM-UFJ currency economist Lee Hardman said.

"Lingering concerns about the euro zone economy and its banking sector are also weighing on euro, which is still seen as a very overvalued currency," he added.

At 1035 GMT, the dollar jumped 0.8 percent against a basket of currencies to 80.775 .DXY.

The euro fell 1 percent against the U.S. currency to $1.3882 <EUR=>. It also lost 1.3 percent against the Japanese yen to 136.14 yen <EURJPY=R>.

Sharp falls in oil prices CLc1 also weighed on commodity-related currencies. The Australian dollar tumbled 1.3 percent against its U.S. counterpart to $0.8015 <AUD=D4> while the U.S. dollar rose 0.9 percent against the Canadian dollar to C$1.1289 <CAD=>.

BRIC SUMMIT LOOMS

The G8 finance ministers' meeting focused on how finance ministers might unwind some of the drastic steps taken to fight the credit crisis once a recovery got under way [ID:nL5701713].

Some traders said a cautious tone from the meeting helped temper recent optimism about the economy, encouraging bets in riskier assets to be cut further and supporting the U.S. dollar.

The comments from Russia's Kudrin meanwhile alleviated concern that central banks around the world are diversifying their foreign exchange reserves away from the dollar

Investors were cautiously awaiting a summit of leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg on Tuesday, however, for any further comments on the issue.

"For a more lasting decline to take place in the euro against the dollar ... these concerns about central bank reserve diversification would have to be cleared up," said Michael Klawitter, senior currency strategist at Dresdner Kleinwort in Frankfurt.

Russia holds about 30 percent of its $404.2 billion foreign exchange reserves in U.S. Treasuries, making it the fifth-largest holder of U.S. government debt.

China, the world's largest holder of U.S. Treasuries, has $707.9 billion, according to the most recent U.S. Treasury Department data, while Japan has $686.7 billion.

(Reporting by Jessica Mortimer; Editing by Victoria Main)

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