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Thursday September 10, 2009 - 10:13:02 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar pauses after sharp slide but still fragile

Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:04am EDT

* Dollar off deepest of week's lows but vulnerable

* Shares, commodities rally seen stretched

* Aussie, kiwi slip on data, comments

(Releads, updates prices)

By Emelia Sithole-Matarise

LONDON, Sept 10 (Reuters) - The dollar inched higher against a basket of major currencies on Thursday, pausing after this week's sharp falls, although the low-yielding U.S. currency remained near its lowest in almost a year.

Investors booked gains in the Australian and New Zealand dollars, driving them down from this week's one-year highs while the dollar failed to gain much traction after benchmark world stocks hit an 11-month high in early trade.

The U.S. currency has suffered as investors bet on economic recovery through commodity-linked and higher-yielding currencies. But European stocks turned south after a strong opening and many in the market feel the risk rally is starting to look stretched, giving the dollar hope of a rebound.

"We'll still be looking for some further gains from some of the major pro-cyclical and commodity currencies but there are some risks now starting to develop which suggest that these moves are likely to start running out of steam," said Ian Stannard, senior currency strategist at BNP Paribas.

"The chances are it (the dollar) will probably start to rebound."

The dollar index .DXY, which tracks its performance against a basket of six major currencies, was 0.1 percent up from late U.S. trade at 77.16. The index plumbed 76.803 in intraday trade on Wednesday, its lowest level in almost a year.

Against the yen, the dollar was 0.2 percent firmer on the day at 92.20 yen JPY=, up from Wednesday's seven-month low of 91.61 yen on trading platform EBS after short-term players covered short positions.

Traders said options triggers were expected at 91.50 yen, and options desks had been buying dollars in hedging operations, preventing it from falling further.

They also expect Japanese importers will be dollar buyers at these kind of levels but as September is the end of the fiscal first half the market is waiting to see whether inflows of capital into Japan will pick up.

The euro EUR= was 0.1 percent softer at $1.4538, trimming gains made on Wednesday when it hit a 2009 high above $1.4600. It has a key chart level at $1.4620, which is a 61.8 percent retracement of its fall from July 2008 to October last year.


Market participants were bracing for U.S. international trade data for July due at 1230 GMT. The consensus outcome in a Reuters poll sees a slightly wider deficit of $27.35 billion from $27.01 billion in June. ECON [ECI/US]

"Should today's data suggest that the 'bad old days' of excessive deficits are about to return, the dollar bears might once again gain the upper hand with the trend seen over the past few days continuing," Commerzbank strategists said in a note.

The New Zealand dollar NZD=D4 eased 0.5 percent to $0.6928, dropping from just below Wednesday's one-year high above $0.7000 after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) governor said it was overvalued and after weaker-than-expected Australian jobs data. [ID:nWLF004365]

Earlier the RBNZ left rates on hold at a record low of 2.5 percent as expected but indicated it was less inclined to cut rates again. [ID:nWEL20198]

The Australian dollar fell after data showed Australia's employment dropped by 27,100 jobs in August, more than double a Reuters forecast of 12,500, although the jobless rate held steady at 5.8 percent, better than the 5.9 percent forecast.

The Aussie dropped 0.8 percent to $0.8591 AUD=D4, retreating from Wednesday's one-year high of $0.8669.

Later in the day, the Bank of England concludes a two-day monetary policy meeting and is widely expected to announce no change in rates at 1100 GMT. Still, there is an outside chance it might decide to expand its quantitative easing programme.

The pound was 0.1 percent weaker at $1.6502 GBP=D4 after touching a three-week high on Wednesday, and lost some ground against the euro which fetched 88.09 pence by 0811 GMT. (Additional reporting by Kaori Kaneko in Tokyo; Editing by Patrick Graham/Ruth Pitchford)

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