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Thursday October 1, 2009 - 10:53:31 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Euro falls vs dollar on Almunia comments

Thu Oct 1, 2009 6:46am EDT

* Euro hits day's low vs dollar on EU's Almunia comments

* Almunia: Eurogroup to discuss strong euro ahead of G7 meet

* Analysts see range trade before U.S. jobless claims, ISM

(Adds comment, updates throughout

By Naomi Tajitsu

LONDON, Oct 1 (Reuters) - The euro fell on Thursday, dragged down versus the dollar after a top European Union official said euro zone finance ministers would discuss the currency's appreciation before a Group of Seven meeting on Saturday.

The euro fell half a percent on the day against the dollar after the EU's Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said euro strength would be discussed when officials meet in Istanbul at the weekend [ID:nWEA3160].

His comments followed statements from finance officials around the world in the past week on their discomfort with their currencies' strength against the dollar, which has tumbled around 10 percent against a currency basket in the past six months.

"We've had quite of bit of chatter from central banks, it's getting more widespread," said Daragh Maher, senior currency strategist at Calyon in London.

"If the weaker dollar trend continues, it will be a concern for a lot of policymakers," he said, adding more statements on currencies could follow.

G7 finance ministers and central bank governors will meet on Saturday on the sidelines of World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings to discuss recent financial market developments. [ID:nLU277715]

Canada's finance minister on Wednesday said the G7 would try to advance the resolution of global economic imbalances, including currency issues, and traders said dollar-related comments or news may be a trigger for investors to cover short positions accumulated recently.

By 1015 GMT, the euro was down 0.5 percent at $1.4559, near the day's low around $1.4550 on Almunia's comments.

The single European currency showed little reaction to European purchasing management indices, which held ground or moved closer to recovery in September, although the possibility of a double-dip slowdown remained. [ID:nL1494081]

The dollar JPY= rose 0.3 percent to 90.00 yen, staying above an eight-month trough of 88.23 yen hit earlier this week on trading platform EBS. Offers from some Japanese exporters limited gains in the dollar, traders said.

Traders brushed off Japan's quarterly tankan report, which showed business morale in the country improved further as the economy picked up from its worst slump in decades, though it was still negative [JPBCLG=ECI].

MORE FX RHETORIC

Financial officials and policymakers in past weeks have cranked up their rhetoric regarding currencies -- particularly broad dollar weakness.

Japan's finance minister indicated this week government was not fazed by the yen's rally to an eight-month high against the dollar, only to later tone down his remarks.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said on Monday he backed the argument for a strong U.S. currency, while sterling has weakened after Bank of England Governor Mervyn King highlighted the positive economic impact of a weak currency.

Some analysts said that while such statements were likely to increase in the future, their impact on the market may be limited if officials were not seen backing up their words with action to intervene.

So far, the Swiss National Bank is one of few major central banks seen acting in the market -- to stem the Swiss franc's appreciation. Some in the market said the SNB had a hand in pushing up the euro against the Swiss currency on Wednesday.

Traders awaited the U.S. Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index for September due at 1400 GMT, as well as weekly U.S. jobless claims and testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke later in the day.

The dollar fell on Wednesday after data that increased expectations the U.S. economy was recovering.

(Editing by Nigel Stephenson)

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