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Wednesday October 28, 2009 - 21:51:53 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar, yen rise on recovery concern, stocks tumble


Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:46pm EDT

* U.S. dollar at more than 2-week high vs currency basket

* Dollar rises vs euro for fourth straight session

* U.S. new home sales fall, lowers risk appetite

* Aussie down as CPI dents view of bigger rate hike (Updates prices; adds quote, details)

By Wanfeng Zhou

NEW YORK, Oct 28 (Reuters) - The dollar and yen gained on Wednesday as concerns about a global economic recovery and steep losses in Wall Street stocks boosted the safe-haven appeal of the U.S. and Japanese currencies.

The dollar rose for a fourth straight session against the euro after a report showed an unexpected fall in U.S. new home sales for September. The data offset solid durables goods numbers and stoked fear the rally in risky assets in recent months has run ahead of fundamentals.

A deterioration in risk appetite also sent higher-yielding, commodity currencies sharply lower. The Australian dollar fell 2 percent, pressured partly by Australian inflation data, which suggested the country's central bank was unlikely to tighten interest rates sharply.

"We've had a pretty rough run in the stock market in the last few days," said Ronald Simpson, director of currency research at Action Economics in Tampa, Florida.

"The data recently has been kind of mixed," he added. "Overall, I think the short-dollar trade is just getting very crowded and we're going to see some unwinding of it."

In late trading, the ICE Futures dollar index .DXY, a measure of the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, was up 0.4 percent at 76.465, after hitting a high of 76.513, the best level since Oct. 12. The index touched a 14-month low of 74.940 last week.

The dollar was down 1.1 percent at 90.81 yen JPY=, retreating from a more than one-month high of 92.33 yen hit on electronic trading platform EBS the previous day.

New single-family home sales fell 3.6 percent to a 402,000 unit annual pace from a downwardly revised 417,000 units in August. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected sales to rise to a 440,000 unit pace. For details, see [ID:nN28304343]

"The (housing) number was surprisingly weak. I think that is going to add to the trend that we've seen recently where investors are questioning the robust pace of economic recovery going forward," said Joe Manimbo, currency trader at Travelex Global Business Payments in Washington.

"That has benefited the dollar and helped to revive its safe-haven appeal," he added.


The euro fell as low as $1.4691, its lowest level since Oct. 12, according to Reuters data. It was last down 0.7 percent at $1.4703 EUR= and off 1.7 percent at 133.63 yen EURJPY=R.

European Central Bank governing council member Christian Noyer said late on Wednesday that while the level of the euro is not a particular problem at the moment, the currencies of rising trade powers should appreciate. [ID:nN28319760]

The Australian dollar tumbled 2 percent against the greenback to US$0.8981 AUD=. It also fell 3.1 percent against the yen AUDJPY=R, the biggest daily drop since early July.

Australian consumer price inflation rose more than expected last quarter, yet the increase was not considered alarming enough to justify a more aggressive tightening in interest rates. [ID:nSYD541217]

Overnight interest rate swaps markets showed investors are now looking for no more than a 25 basis point rate rise at the Reserve Bank of Australia's meeting next week.

"For all of its stern rhetoric of late, let's not forget that the RBA still needs reason to lift rates in this deflationary environment even when growth appears locally robust," said Andrew Wilkinson, senior market analyst at Interactive Brokers in Greenwich, Connecticut.

The New Zealand dollar NZD= fell after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand held rates steady, saying it saw no urgent need to start tightening monetary policy. [ID:nWEL003880] The kiwi last traded 2.7 percent lower at US$0.7234.

The Canadian dollar also dropped, with the U.S. currency up 1.5 percent at C$1.0798 CAD=.

Investors awaited Thursday's first estimate for third-quarter U.S. gross domestic product data. Economists polled by Reuters are looking for a rise of 3.3 percent.

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