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Monday October 26, 2009 - 10:57:53 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar hits 14-mth low vs euro on China report

Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:49am EDT

* China should increase EUR, JPY holdings - Chinese report

* Euro hits 14-mth high vs dlr on report, but trading quiet

* Yen, Aussie also gain; Pound still weak after grim UK data

(Updates prices, adds comment)

By Jessica Mortimer

LONDON, Oct 26 (Reuters) - The dollar was broadly weak on Monday, hitting a 14-month low against the euro following a Chinese report saying Beijing should increase its holdings of euros and yen in its foreign reserves.

On an otherwise quiet day for news, investors jumped on the report as an excuse to sell the U.S. currency further, though analysts said losses may be capped by concerns the dollar has limited scope for further falls.

"We have thin markets and markets are grabbing whatever they can hold on to ... people are just looking for more excuses to buy euro/dollar," said UBS currency strategist in London Geoffrey Yu.

The story out of China was an opinion piece in the Financial News, a paper published by the People's Bank of China, which said the dollar should remain the principal currency in China's foreign exchange reserves but that the share of euros and yen should increase. [ID:nPEK285229]

At 1041 GMT, the euro was up 0.2 percent at $1.5027 EUR=, having earlier risen as high as $1.5064 on trading platform EBS, its highest since August 2008.

The dollar index .DXY, a gauge of the greenback's performance against six other major currencies, was down 0.2 percent at 75.333, moving back towards a 14-month low of 74.940 touched last week.

But analysts expressed concern there may be limited scope for further dollar selling, given that investors are already very short of dollars.

"The issue of reserve diversification has been an ongoing topic for quite a while, while the other reason the dollar is not selling off more sharply is that the market is already very short dollars and there is only a certain extent that people want to be short," said Michael Klawitter, senior currency strategist at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

Data on Friday showed currency speculators increased bets against the U.S. dollar, with the value of the dollar's net short position rising to $18.65 billion in the week ending Oct 20 from a $17.99 billion net short the prior week. [ID:nN23573397]

Against the yen, the dollar fell 0.3 percent to 91.77 yen JPY=, retreating from a one-month high of 92.23 yen hit on EBS earlier in the day.

The Australian dollar AUD=D4 also firmed, getting a boost from the China story, with analysts noting many investors believe it has been included in the currencies that China and other central banks have bought to diversify reserves.

The New Zealand dollar underperformed, however, trading flat on the day at $0.7542 NZD=D4 after the country's Prime Minister John Key said New Zealand is concerned over the strength of its currency, but has few tools at its disposal to deal with it. [ID:nKLA010454]

Sterling GBP=D4 edged up 0.1 percent to $1.6314, but it stayed not far from an earlier one-week low of $1.6251, remaining under pressure after data on Friday showed the UK economy unexpectedly contracted in the third quarter.

Monday is a quiet day for economic data and focus is likely to centre on events later in the week, including U.S. gross domestic product data for the third quarter and interest rate decisions in Norway and New Zealand.

Figures earlier on Monday unexpectedly revealed German consumer sentiment declined for the first time in just over a year going into November. [ID:nLN478719] (Reporting by Jessica Mortimer; editing by Chris Pizzey)

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