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Friday June 19, 2009 - 10:29:44 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar, yen pressured; moves limited ahead of Fed

Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:36am EDT

* Euro up 0.1 pct at $1.3914 EUR=

* Aussie dlr up 0.5 pct vs U.S. dollar

* BBA change for Libor may help dollar

* Moves capped ahead of U.S. Fed policy meet next week

By Tamawa Desai

LONDON, June 19 (Reuters) - The dollar and yen came under pressure on Friday as brighter U.S. economic data reinforced expectations for the global growth outlook, but moves were limited before a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting next week.

Higher-yielding currencies such as the Australian dollar gained, but investors were reviewing whether a recent rally in riskier assets was justified given the global economy was still struggling to emerge from its worst recession in decades.

"The leading indicator data aren't enough to start an upward trend," said Lee Hardman, currency economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. "The markets needs to see more hard evidence to confirm the improvement that they expect."

The dollar and yen were weighed after data on Thursday showed the number of people on jobless benefits fell for the first time since January, while manufacturing in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region contracted much less than expected in June.

A dearth of economic data on Friday meant position adjustments ahead of the weekend may dominate trade, dealers said.

At 0816 GMT, the euro was up 0.1 percent at $1.3920 EUR=. But it stayed below Thursday's high of $1.4002 on trading platform EBS and below its 2009 peak of $1.4339.

The Australian dollar gained 0.5 percent to $0.837 AUD=.

The dollar edged up 0.2 percent to 96.83 yen JPY=, holding firm after Wall Street gained the previous day to break a three-day losing streak and prompted traders to cover their yen long positions across the board.

The euro gained 0.3 percent against the yen to 134.80 yen EURJPY=R while the Aussie dollar also rose 0.8 percent against the Japanese unit.

The yen had risen to multi-week highs against other currencies earlier this week as investors reduced riskier bets on higher-yielding units such as the Australian dollar.

The currency market also remained sensitive to bond yields.

Speculation that rates will rise on the back of an expected change to the London Interbank offered rate (Libor) may be a supportive factor for the dollar, some analysts said.

The British Bankers' Association said on Thursday it will change its definition of the Libor to allow a greater number of institutions to participate in the daily rate fixing process. [ID:nLI301653]

"The market appears to think that more banks mean a greater chance of higher fixings as banks which reported lower fixings to hide difficulties during times of stress would be less effective in distorting rates," said UBS in a research note.

"We think the knock-on from the BBA report is good news for the dollar. The simple way to look at it is from a perspective of interest rate differentials moving in favour of the dollar."

The other big focus for the market will be the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee meeting set for June 23-24.

Markets will watch whether the Fed will address a recent rise in short- and long-term interest rates. The Fed may extend its purchase of U.S. Treasuries but an aggressive expansion of buying is not likely. [ID:nN16283024]

Meanwhile, the Swiss franc remained under pressure after traders on Thursday cited Swiss franc selling against the euro on behalf of the Swiss National Bank, on which the central bank declined to comment.

The move came after the SNB said it would continue its ultra-easy monetary policy on Thursday, and renewed a pledge to take action in the currency market to keep the Swiss franc rising against the euro.

The euro was up 0.1 pct at 1.5124 francs EURCHF= after climbing as high as 1.5149 francs on EBS on Thursday. (Editing by Toby Chopra)

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