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Wednesday September 16, 2009 - 11:04:37 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar suffers, hits 1-year low vs FX basket

Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:35am EDT

* Dollar extends losses, hits 1-year low vs currency basket

* Euro/dlr hits 9-month high, dollar/yen plumbs 7-mth trough

* Fuji: Strong yen has merits for Japanese economy

(Adds comment, details, updates prices)

By Naomi Tajitsu

LONDON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The dollar slumped to a one-year low against a currency basket on Wednesday after higher global shares and gold prices cranked up risk appetite and boosted currencies seen as being riskier to hold than the U.S. currency.

The yen rallied to a seven-month high against the beleaguered dollar after Japan's incoming finance minister said a strong yen had advantages for the nation's economy.

Underlining dollar weakness, the euro rallied to a nine-month high around $1.4715, a move analysts said was an extension of ongoing negative sentiment on the U.S. currency, whose safe-haven status has diminished on the view the global economy is improving.

"The general dollar-selling trend remains in place," said Lauren Rosborough, senior currency analyst at Westpac in London, noting that traders were focused on $1.4720, above which would be the euro's highest since September 2008.

"The $1.4720-1.4750 region should be capped in the short term, but once we get into NY trade the tendency will be to push the dollar lower."

By 1018 GMT, the euro EUR= traded at $1.4675, inching down from the day's high but hovering 0.1 percent higher on the day.

The single European currency offered little reaction to figures confirming euro zone inflation fell 0.2 percent year-on-year, in line with forecasts [ID:nLG70901].

Against a currency basket, the U.S. currency fell as low as 76.187, its weakest level in a year.

YEN RALLIES The dollar JPY= fell 1 percent on the day to 90.12 yen according to electronic trading platform EBS.

The rate plumbed its weakest level since mid-February after incoming Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii said he was opposed to currency intervention if movements were gradual, while adding that current moves were not rapid. [ID:nTKU105550]

"The comments suggest the new government is not as keen to interfere in the market as the old one was," said Johan Javeus, chief currency strategist at SEB in Stockholm. "It seems this has given a go ahead signal to the market that it's OK for the yen to strengthen."

Still, he added Fujii's comments that he opposed currency intervention if movements were not rapid suggested the new government, like the old one, remained concerned with the speed of yen appreciation.

Analysts have said traders remain cautious about pushing the yen too high due to lingering concerns Japan may act to stem the yen's strength, as they did in a massive intervention campaign in 2003-2004.

Such concerns may limit yen gains beyond around 87 yen, a level hit earlier this year for the first time since 1995.

Market participants said traders were pushing dollar/yen lower in an attempt to test the 90.00 yen, which was believed to be lined with options-related barriers.

European shares rallied 1.1 percent on the day after upbeat U.S. economic news on Tuesday boosted the appeal of riskier assets leveraged to global growth, stinging the dollar. Gold prices XAU= climbed as high as $1,020.20, their highest since March 2008. Analysts pointed out that, as gold is priced in U.S. dollars, it was natural for the price of the precious metal to move inversely with the dollar.

Traders awaited readings of the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) for August, second-quarter current account data, August industrial production numbers and September NAHB housing data due later in the day.

Analysts said strong readings may further fuel risk demand and push the dollar lower. (Editing by Chris Pizzey)

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