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Thursday November 19, 2009 - 21:42:30 GMT
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FOREX NEWS - Dollar, yen advance as risk tolerance declines

Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:35pm EST

* Risk appetite wanes; stocks, commodities decline

* U.S. dollar, Japanese yen gain vs euro

* Australian, New Zealand dollars fall (Recasts; writes through, updates prices, changes byline)

By Nick Olivari

NEW YORK, Nov 19 (Reuters) - The dollar and yen rose on Thursday amid revived safe-haven demand for the U.S. and Japanese currencies following a pullback in risk appetite as illustrated by declines in equity and commodity markets.

The dollar and commodities are often inversely correlated, with oil, gold and other raw materials priced in dollars and themselves seen as alternative currencies and hard assets.

Analysts said investors were turning cautious after recent economic data has not been as rosy as forecast, stoking worries that the sharp rally in riskier assets over the past several months may have been overdone.

The yen rallied broadly, hitting its highest level against the euro in more than two weeks, while the higher-yielding, commodity-linked Australian and New Zealand dollars tumbled.

"It's probably a combination of the notion that the global economic data has been going through somewhat of a soft patch recently and the fact that the year-end is approaching," said Vassili Serebriakov, currency strategist at Wells Fargo in New York.

In late afternoon New York trade, the euro fell 0.3 percent to $1.4917 EUR=. It remained within the range of a large $1.48 to $1.51 "double no touch" options structure expiring on Friday.

The euro-zone currency also slid to a more than two-week low against the yen EURJPY= as losses accelerated after breaking technical support at the 200-day moving average of around 132.00, according to Reuters data.

The euro later rebounded to 132.78 yen, but was still down 0.7 percent for the day in volatile trading with a range of almost 2 yen separating the day's high and low.

A senior economic adviser to the German government told Reuters Television that Germany could face a double-dip recession in late 2010 or early 2011 as extra public spending is withdrawn. For story, see [ID:nWEA1984]

The dollar fell 0.4 percent JPY= to 88.02 yen after bottoming at 88.64 yen -- its lowest level since Oct. 9, according to Reuters data.

"The decline in risk appetite has prompted some squaring of positions particularly in the yen, which was oversold against the majors," said Michael Woolfolk, senior currency strategist at BNY Mellon in New York.


All three major U.S. stock indexes ended lower on Thursday with the tech-heavy Nasdaq sliding 1.66 percent.

Oil CLc1 prices fell while while gold eked out a gain XAU= on demand by investment funds after being lower for most of the session.

Investors were also wary of talk from emerging market countries about capital controls to limit some of the flows of hot money into their economies, with new steps announced by Brazil and South Korea. [ID:nN18128104] [ID:nSEO366]

The ICE Futures U.S. dollar index .DXY, a non-traded calculation measuring the greenback's performance against a basket of six currencies, rose 0.2 percent to 75.307. The index hit a 15-month low of 74.679 earlier this week.

Some 13,345 contracts had changed hands in the December dollar index futures as the New York session wound down. Average daily volume in the year to date stands at 8,286. The December futures contract was last unchanged at 75.37. Open interest was posted at 40,085.

Federal Reserve officials on Thursday downplayed the consequences of the falling U.S. dollar, underscoring that deflation is still a threat, especially with commercial real estate prices falling. [ID:nHKG266471]

A survey on Thursday showed factory activity in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region grew in November for a fourth straight month, which was faster than expected, but that was not enough to offset general economic gloom. [ID:nOSL011787]

The Australian dollar fell to a two-week low and last traded 1.1 percent lower at US$0.9193 AUD=. The New Zealand dollar lost 1.9 percent to US$0.7315 NZD=.

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