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Wednesday September 1, 2010 - 10:09:32 GMT
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FOREX NEWS - Dollar falls as equities bounce; Aussie surges

5:59am EDT

* Australian dollar rises 1.5 percent vs U.S. dollar

* Strong Australian growth boosts risk sentiment

* But safe-haven demand for Swiss and yen may continue

(Releads, adds quote, detail)

By Neal Armstrong

LONDON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - The dollar fell versus a basket of currencies on Wednesday as upbeat data from China and Australia revived shaky equity markets and gave a boost to risk sentiment.

Australia's economy grew at the fastest pace in three years in the last quarter as households spent far more than expected while exports enjoyed an Asian-driven boom, reviving the risk of a further rise in interest rates and leading to a surge in the Aussie dollar AUD=D4. [ID:nSGE67U0L3]

Other data showed Chinese manufacturing staged a moderate rebound in August, easing concerns about the pace of global growth that are based on weakness in the United States.

"The Aussie seems to be driving things on the day. There's a bit of optimism in the market and the risk-on currencies are benefiting," said Paul Mackel, director of currency strategy at HSBC.

At 0937 GMT, the Australian dollar was trading at 0.9055, up 1.6 percent on the day. European stocks were up 1 percent .FTEU3, with US stock futures pointing to a positive open .SPc1.

The Aussie's rise contributed to a 0.7 percent fall in the dollar versus a currency basket to 82.60, down from a 6-week high hit last week at 83.559.

"We've seen a reprieve for risk from the data overnight but I'm of the opinion you sell rallies in riskier currencies." said Kenneth Broux, Markets Strategist at Lloyds Banking Group.

"The market will keep buying safe havens such as the yen and the Swiss franc if U.S. data continues to disappoint."

The Swiss franc pulled back from a record high versus the euro hit on Tuesday at 1.2850 francs on trading platform EBS, to stand at 1.2955.

The euro EUR= traded with gains of around 0.8 percent against the dollar at $1.2790. Traders said Asian demand had triggered stop-losses at $1.2710, while a large option expiry at $1.2800 was also highlighted, potentially having a magnetic impact on the currency.

Versus the yen, the euro was up 0.6 percent at 107.45 yen EURJPY=R.


The dollar was trading flat versus the yen JPY= at 84.08 yen, off earlier highs of 84.58 and still within shouting distance of a 15-year low of 83.58 hit on EBS last week.

Dollar/yen hit the day's high after Japanese ruling party powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa, challenging Prime Minister Naoto Kan in a party leadership vote, said he would implement steps including intervention if the yen rose sharply. [ID:nTFD006532]

Ozawa, in a showdown with Kan in the Sept. 14 vote for ruling party leader and hence prime minister, has a strong political base within the ruling Democratic Party that could threaten Kan's position. [ID:nTOE68000C]

Many traders and analysts believe the dollar's recent drop against the yen, largely driven by falling U.S. bond yields, would have to turn much more volatile or deeper for Japanese authorities to take action on the currency.

A sharp drop in dollar/yen, such as 1 to 2 percent or more in a single day towards the 80 yen level and below, is seen as the most likely scenario that would prompt Japan to stick its neck out and buy dollars. [ID:nTOE67U07V]

U.S. ADP employment data is due for release at 1215 GMT, followed by the ISM Manufacturing report at 1400 GMT, forerunners for Friday's U.S. employment report, which is seen as the key determinant of risk of the week.

"I don't think we'll really go anywhere until Friday's U.S. jobs data, where I think there's a risk that non-farm payrolls could come in below consensus," said Broux at Lloyds.

(Editing by Patrick Graham)

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