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Friday April 8, 2005 - 08:00:48 GMT

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Dollar edges closer to 2-month high versus euro

The dollar climbed towards a two-month peak against the euro on Friday on expectations that the dollar's interest rate advantage over other currencies will keep widening, possibly at a faster pace.

Traders used a sharp fall in crude oil prices as another reason to pick up the dollar, though the currency has rallied in the past month even as oil prices surged to record highs.

Unexpectedly strong machinery orders data from Japan failed to dent the dollar's rise.

At 06h05 GMT, the euro was at around $1.2820, down about 0.3 percent on the day, and in sight of the two-month low of $1.2800 hit on Tuesday. Furumaya said the dollar would likely challenge that level during European trading hours.

The dollar was little changed at 108.65 yen, not far from a five-month peak of 108.90, also reached on Tuesday.

The U.S. currency dipped to the day's low of 108.53 yen after data showed Japan's core private-sector machinery orders, a gauge of trends in capital spending, rose 4.9 percent in February from a month earlier, well above market expectations.

But it soon recovered those losses.

The dollar has gained around six percent against the yen so far this year, as rising U.S. interest rates helped outweigh concerns about the large and growing fiscal and current account deficits  the drivers of a three-year decline in the currency.

Against the euro it has sprung back almost seven percent from a record low of $1.3670 struck in late December.

Dealers said they would be paying close attention to U.S. trade data for February, due on Tuesday, and that any blowout in the deficit could cut short the dollar's recovery.

The Fed has raised interest rates by a quarter percentage point seven times since June, bringing its funds rate to 2.75 percent. Over the same period, rates have been stuck at 2.0 percent in the euro zone and virtually zero in Japan.

St. Louis Federal Reserve President William Poole said on Thursday that higher energy costs as well as stronger corporate pricing power had increased the dangers of inflation and that the Fed would take strong action if these feed labor costs.

While a more aggressive rising of rates than the current moderate pace by the U.S. central bank would be seen as positive for the dollar, some analysts warned of possible side effects.

After plunging three percent on Thursday, U.S. light crude extended losses to around $53.80 a barrel on Friday. That was well below the record high of $58.28 struck on Monday.


EURO/DOLLAR: Against our expectation the euro/dollar fell below the $1.2840 risk level which disturbs considerably the initial idea of a near-term stabilization process. The increasing risk is now that the euro/dollar will extend down to $1.2675. But this is not our favored assumption. Although the recent low near $1.2800 could be overshot, we see a valid chance that an extension will respect $1.2750 and as long as this is the case we continue to interpret the current action as part of a short-term bottom building process that prepares a rally back to $1.3065. Several solid intraday resistances are seen between $1.2860 and $1.2890 that will be difficult to overcome. The $1.2860 level is likely to act as the upper limit of the first half of Europe trading.


DOLLAR/YEN: The dollar is still in the midst of a consol dative top. As resistance in the 109-109.30 area contains, there is still risk for a loss of the 107.70 short-term pivots to open a critical test of the 106.85 level to confirm a reversal. Only a move over 109.50 would sustain the rally.

Hold short-term. Ideally 139.40 will hold but only 140.10 reverses.


DOLLAR/SWISS: The push through 1.2080 argues for a test of the 1.2145 high. This should contain first time but only below 1.2020 would suggest reversal.


STERLING/DOLLAR: Erratic rally to fail $1.8850-60 and threat to the $1.87 short-term pivot threatens our view for a larger upside reversal. Below $1.87 opens at least a test of $1.8590, threatening to sustain downtrend. Holding the $1.8590 base preserves medium-term range.


No U.S. Data due today


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