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Monday November 30, 2009 - 10:54:10 GMT
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FOREX NEWS - Dollar down on UAE moves; Japan comments hit yen

Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:41am EST

* UAE action seen providing stability

* Dollar down as "risk" trades mostly put back on

* Yen slips broadly on Japan govt minister comments

(Updates prices, adds comment and quote)

By Jamie McGeever

LONDON, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The dollar fell on Monday after the United Arab Emirates said it would stand behind banks in Dubai, soothing some concerns about a looming debt default and prompting investors to sell dollars for other currencies and assets.

The yen also weakened, after a Japanese government minister said the government has agreed to try and stem the currency's rise, although he didn't specify what measures they might be.

The dollar's decline was initiated earlier in the global day as Asian equities rallied on the UAE central bank's pledge to provide emerging support to the region's banks and as Dubai's oil-rich neighbour, Abu Dhabi, offered to provide selective support to Dubai companies. [ID:nGEE5AS0AH]

This cooled the liquidity premium and safe-haven demand for dollars which had fueled sharp gains late last week on fears the Dubai debt story might trigger a broader and deeper wave of the financial crisis.

But currencies showed signs of decoupling from other asset markets as European trading picked up. European stocks fell and U.S. stock futures turned negative, although the dollar remained weaker versus most major currencies except the yen.

"Equity markets are weak (in Europe) but look to have a degree of stability about them -- certainly in Asia -- ... and that's reinstigated the short dollar trade," said Derek Halpenny, senior currency economist at BTM-UFJ in London.

On the yen's slip, Halpenny noted a "clear upturn" in Tokyo's concern about deflation and the strong yen. "There's some speculation about intervention and what kind of policy measures will be put in place," Halpenny said.

At 1025 GMT the dollar index, a gauge of the greenback's performance against six other major currencies, was down 0.4 percent on the day at 74.70 .DXY, back within sight of a 15-month low of 74.170 struck last week.

The euro rose 0.4 percent to $1.5030 EUR=, just over a cent away from last week's 15-month peak just above $1.5140, and the Australian dollar was up two thirds of a percent at $0.9130 AUD=D4.

The dollar was flat against the yen at 86.40 yen JPY=, having earlier spiked up more than half a yen to 86.60 yen on Japan strategy minister Naoto Kan's comments.

Last Friday, the dollar hit a 14-year low of 84.82 yen on EBS.


Kan said Japan's government would try to slow the yen's appreciation, but he declined to comment on what specific policies it will take.

"In light of the Dubai shock, we want to respond more aggressively than originally planned with an extra budget," Kan, who is also deputy prime minister, told reporters. "We also want to stop the yen's rise and cooperate with the BOJ." [ID:nT77759]

Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii was quoted by the Mainichi daily as saying he would not intervene in currency markets and that now was a time to monitor markets. [ID:nT308559] Fujii later added, however, that he had never said intervention was impossible. [ID:nTKU105707]

"In the event of another sell-off in risk, dollar/yen would quickly test 85, especially if the verbal intervention by policy officals is not backed by stronger action," said Barclays Capital analysts in a note on Monday.

But in a week full of major events, including the European Central Bank's policy meeting, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's Senate confirmation hearings and U.S. employment data, traders still took their cue from the Middle East.

"The (UAE) central bank statement gives some assurance to the market ... (and) all in all, it's a much better risk envirmnoment than when we left the office on Friday," said Niels Christensen, currency strategist at Nordea in Copenhagen.

The UAE's central bank set up an emergency facility on Sunday to support bank liquidity in the first policy response to Dubai's debt woes that threatened to paralyse lending and derail the global economic recovery. [nGEE5A02FN]

Meanwhile, the euro zone's top economic officials pressed China on Sunday to let the yuan resume its rise but said they were not counting on immediate results.

China, for its part, did not budge from long-standing wording on its exchange rate policy, with Premier Wen Jiabao restating that the yuan should be kept at a reasonable, balanced level. [ID:nPEK25062]

((Reporting by Jamie McGeever; editing by Toby Chopra; Reuters Messaging: [email protected]; +44 207 542 8510))

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