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Tuesday August 25, 2009 - 10:36:59 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Yen gains as stocks struggle, euro on back foot

Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:25am EDT

* Yen rallies broadly, struggling stocks curb risk demand

* Euro pares losses as Europe shares pull back from low

* Bernanke reappointment has limited impact, SNB eyed

(Updates throughout)

By Naomi Tajitsu

LONDON, Aug 25 (Reuters) - The yen rose broadly on Tuesday, gaining in particular against the euro and sterling as a retreat in European shares from a 10-month high the previous day curbed demand for currencies considered to be high-risk.

Still, the euro trimmed losses as European shares pulled back from a roughly 0.5 percent fall in early trade, when it took a cue from a 2.6 percent fall in Chinese shares.

Trading was thin as many market participants were away on summer holidays, and analysts said currency movements were largely being dictated by other asset markets, making them vulnerable to a pullback in stocks and commodities.

"Some capital markets still look a bit overpriced relative to the hard economic data, so some of the correction we've seen in the pro-cyclicals is to be expected," said Phyllis Papadavid, currency strategist at Societe Generale in London.

She added that the correction may continue when traders return from holidays, which could further boost currencies considered to be safe-haven, including the yen and the dollar.

The euro EUR= traded flat on the day at $1.4302, clawing back some losses after slipping to the day's low of $1.4254 according to Reuters data, in early European trade.

The dollar index .DXY was little changed but the U.S. currency fell as low as 93.80 yen in early trade, as the yen was the main beneficiary of the pullback in risk demand. By 0958 GMT, the pair traded at 94.28 yen, down 0.2 percent on the day.

The Swiss franc was little changed against the euro and the dollar as investors awaited a speech by Swiss National Bank board member Thomas Jordan to see if he reiterates the central bank's position on combating excessive strength in the national currency.

Swiss authorities have been intervening in the currency market since March.

BERNANKE REAPPOINTED

Three-month interbank offered rates for the dollar fell below those for yen for the first time in 16 years on Tuesday, which fuelled some speculation of a possible expanding role of the dollar as a funding currency.

Some analysts said the dollar may be at risk if this dynamic continued, while pointing out that the prospect of the U.S. currency becoming a major funding currency was unlikely, given speculation that U.S. interest rates may rise early next year.

The dollar showed little reaction to news that U.S. President Barack Obama would reappoint Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke for a second term on Tuesday. [ID:nN24151253]

"I don't think there will be any major impact, but it should be positive for markets such as the stock and bond markets in the sense that an element of uncertainty has been removed," said Takahide Nagasaki, chief FX strategist at Daiwa Securities SMBC in Tokyo.

High-risk currencies struggled against the yen, pushing the euro down 0.3 percent EURJPY=R AUDJPY=R, while sterling GBPJPY=R fell 0.5 percent.

Market participants said currency moves had been driven by a slide in Shanghai's share index, which struggled after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said China would keep monetary policy loose as the economy faces fresh difficulties. [ID:nBJD002948]

The low-yielding yen tends to gain when stocks and higher-yielding currencies fall or when weak economic data casts doubt on the path to global recovery. (Additional reporting by Tokyo Forex Team; editing by Stephen Nisbet)

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