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Monday July 27, 2009 - 10:18:05 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Euro, yen crosses edge up as stocks rally

Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:38am EDT

* Euro up 0.3 percent to $1.4251 EUR=, up 0.7 pct vs yen

* Aussie dollar hits 6-wk high of $0.8229 AUD=D4

* European shares up; focus on U.S. Q2 GDP at end of week

(Adds quotes, updates prices)

By Tamawa Desai

LONDON, July 27 (Reuters) - The euro and commodity-linked currencies held firm on Monday, underpinned by gains in stocks and oil prices, but moves were limited ahead of U.S. GDP data and record sales of U.S. Treasuries later in the week.

The market was also keeping an eye on talks between top U.S. and Chinese officials in Washington on Monday and Tuesday for any comments regarding the U.S. currency.

European shares were higher by mid-morning trade after Tokyo shares hit a nine-month high and the Dow Jones average and the S&P 500 closed at eight-month highs on Friday. Oil prices rose towards $69 a barrel.

"Investors are overall still optimistic for global growth, so the dollar and yen should remain on the back foot," said Lee Hardman, currency economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

By 0914 GMT, the euro rose 0.3 percent to $1.4251 EUR=, not far off a seven-week high of $1.4292 set last week or its 2009 peak of $1.4339 hit in early June. It also gained 0.7 percent to 135.60 yen EURJPY=R.

Data on Monday showed annual growth of M3 money supply -- a broad measure of money available to spend -- slowed to 3.5 percent from 3.7 percent in May, in line with expectations. [ID:nLR119410] ECON

"Credit crunch is only a discussion, not a fact, in the euro zone. By the end of the year, the bottom in annual M3 growth rates will be reached and next year it will grow again," said Costa Brunner, economist at Natixis.

Earlier data showed German consumer sentiment rose to 3.5 in August, a 14-month high, from an upwardly revised reading of 3.0 for July, and higher than forecasts for 2.9. [ID:nLO132436] while German import prices fell by 11.3 percent year-on-year in June, the biggest fall since February 1987. [ID:nLR78073]

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar climbed 0.5 percent to $0.8218 AUD=D4 after hitting a six-week high of $0.8229.

The dollar index .DXY, a measure of its performance against six major currencies, stood at 78.599, near a seven-week low last week, but the greenback was slightly higher on the day against the yen at 95.04 yen JPY=.

Data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Friday showed currency speculators nearly doubled their bets against the dollar in the week ended July 21, with the value of dollar net short positions reaching its highest since mid-July 2008. [ID:nN24481747]

U.S. gross domestic product, due on Friday, is expected to show the economy contracted for a fourth consecutive quarter in April-June, the first time that has happened in records dating to 1947. [ID:nN24483077] Forecasts are for a contraction at an annual rate of 1.5 percent. [ECI/US]

"With market volatility declining toward more normal levels, it could be a case where the dollar strengthens on stronger U.S. economic data," BTM-UFJ's Hardman said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury sells a record $115 billion this week and the bond and currency markets are keen to see how demand holds up given rising stock markets and a potentially improving economic backdrop.

"Supply concerns could underpin dollar/yen on the week, and as long as 94.20 yen support holds, a target of 96.70 yen on the week is not unreasonable," said analysts at RBC Capital Markets.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the jobless rate was likely to stay high even when the economy exited recession sometime in the next few months. [ID:nN26477938] (Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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