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Wednesday April 13, 2005 - 08:29:00 GMT

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Dollar resilient despite record U.S. trade gap

The dollar held firm on Wednesday after rallying the prior session despite the U.S. trade deficit swelling to a new record, with some traders and analysts saying the market had already braced for a bad number.

The dollar swiftly recovered from a short-lived tumble on Tuesday after data showed the deficit hit $61.04 billion in February, above $60 billion for the first time and much worse than forecasts for a $59 billion gap.

The currency also held its strength even as the minutes of the Federal Reserve's March meeting suggested policymakers were worried about inflation pressures but not yet ready to lift interest rates at a faster pace.

Since the Fed changed its statement at that meeting to highlight concerns about price pressures, the prospect of more aggressive rate increases has helped propel the dollar higher and extend its unexpected rebound this year.

Currency strategists at Morgan Stanley said the dollar's resilience through Tuesday's negative events including a speech by New York Fed President Timothy Geithner on the dangers of U.S. deficits showed market sentiment seemed to be shifting.

"The bottom line is had dollar bears wanted to find a reason to sell, recent events provided them with a number of excuses to pull the trigger. However, they decided against it," strategists at Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients.

At 05h46 GMT, the euro hovered around $1.2920, little changed from late New York levels and holding above a two-month low of $1.2800 hit last week, according to data from electronic trading platform EBS.

The dollar dipped 0.3 percent to around 107.40 yen >, mainly on the back of speculators selling the euro for the Japanese currency.

The euro was at around 138.74 yen after falling close to 138.60 yen; down from a one-month high near 140.30 yen hit on Monday.

Even billionaire investor Warren Buffett was rumored to be buying back the dollar after publicly declaring his massive bets against the currency in the past few years, according to a research note from JPMorgan Chase. One Tokyo trader heard similar rumors a few days ago.

Last year Buffett wagered $21.4 billion against the dollar, raking in $1.84 billion on the currency's slide.

The dollar has jumped 5 percent or more this year against the euro, yen and Swiss franc, arresting its three-year slide on persistent worries about the ability of the United States to fund its huge current account and budget deficits.

The Morgan Stanley strategists said Tuesday's wild trading was driven mainly by short-term speculators, and longer-term investors would likely wait for the dollar to break against the euro below $1.2750 or above $1.3000 before returning.

Attention is now turning to U.S. capital flows data on Friday, which is forecast to show the country attracted $65 billion in foreign capital in February. That would be down from $91.5 billion in January but above the roughly $55 billion needed each month to cover the deficits.

Late in the United States on Tuesday, Philadelphia Fed President Anthony Santomero said that as long as the U.S. economy is strong it will continue to attract foreign capital.


EURO/DOLLAR: "Euro retreated after repeatedly failing to hold the psychologically important $1.3000 level and finally fell back under the dollar's onslaught. As the dollar bulls continue to engage euro's bids, euro bulls will find a minor support at $1.2857, an Apr 12 daily low. An intermediate support at $1.2798, an end of the March-April dollar bull swing, currently defends the major support at $1.2730.

In case the euro longs attempt to retake the $1.3000 figure, they will encounter a minor resistance at $1.2959, a 23.6 Fib of the $1.3481-1.2797 dollar swing. An intermediate resistance at $1.3015, an April 12 daily spike high, should prevent the euro longs from advancing to the major resistance at $1.3058, a 38.2 Fib of the Mar-Apr bullish greenback swing."


DOLLAR/YEN: Yen continued to push the dollar bulls lower after staging a spectacular channel breakdown, following a 500-pip dollar rally. As yen continues to edge lower, dollar longs tightened their defenses with a minor support 106.99 yen, a 20-day simple moving average. An intermediate support at 106.20 yen, a March 24-28 consolidation low continues to defend the major support at 105.54 yen, a February 23-March 4 consolidation range high. If the dollar bulls manage to mount a successful counter offensive they will encounter a minor resistance at 107.99 yen, a 10-day simple moving average, followed by an intermediate support 108.47, created by April 11-12 consolidation high.


DOLLAR/SWISS FRANC: Swissie bulls and the dollar longs continued to push and shove each other as both engaged in a battle royal over the 1.2000 franc level. As dollar longs continue to advance on the Swiss franc positions they will encounter a minor resistance at 1.2050 francs, an April 12 daily spike high. A further move higher will encounter an intermediate resistance at 1.2116 francs, an April 8 minor swing high, which defends the major resistance at 1.2151, a top of the 1.1474-1.2151 francs dollar bull swing, a key target for the dollar bulls as it defends the 1.2262 francs, a 2005 high and a gatekeeper to the 1.2486 francs, a key 61.8 Fib of the 1.3226-1.1288 Swissie rally.


STERLING/DOLLAR: Sterling longs made a little progress following a failed attempt to retake the $1.9000 level after the dollar bulls successfully defended their territory by repeatedly hitting cable bids. As the dollar prepares to mount another counter offensive, cable longs continue to rely on a minor support at $1.8871, a 38.2 Fib of the $1.9325-1.8590 greenback rally. An intermediate support at $1.8816, a 10-day simple moving average, currently continues to defend the major support at $1.8764, a 23.6 Fib of the March-April dollar swing. In case pound longs decide to launch another offense targeting the $1.9000 figure they will encounter a minor resistance at 1.8958, a 50.0 Fib of the $1.9325-$1.8590 dollar bull swing.


@13h30 GMT (British Summer Time): U.S. March Retail Sales


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