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Wednesday October 13, 2010 - 10:23:46 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX NEWS-Dollar soft, euro firm on contrasting policy views

6:15am EDT

* Euro strong below $1.40 after Fed minutes, Weber comments

* Euro break above $1.4025-45 would open way to more gains

* Dollar up vs yen, at record low vs Swissie, index soft

(Adds quote, updates prices)

By Anirban Nag

LONDON, Oct 13 (Reuters) - The dollar came under broad selling pressure on Wednesday, with investors pushing it towards key lows against the euro, the Swiss franc and a basket of currencies on more signs pointing to U.S. monetary easing.

The euro hit $1.40 in European trade and looked set to challenge its eight-month high at $1.4030 after Federal Reserve minutes on Tuesday reinforced expectations of more quantitative easing. A sustained break above $1.4025-45 was seen heralding further gains.

Dealers said hawkish comments on Tuesday from European Central Bank Governing Council member Axel Weber, which highlighted the difference in direction between Fed and ECB policy, gave the euro an added lift. [ID:nN12121001]

"In the G4 space, the ECB is the only central bank that is talking of an exit policy and that is helping the euro," said Ankita Dudani, G-10 currency strategist at RBS.

"But by the looks of it, the market has already priced in a fair degree of quantitative easing by the Fed in the past few weeks. So we expect euro/dollar to hold a range from here on."

The euro EUR= was up 0.51 percent at $1.3994 on steady buying by Asian central banks. Traders say a weekly close above the $1.4030 high is seen important for the euro to push higher.

The single currency gained across the board, climbing against the yen, sterling and the Swiss franc.

Robert Ryan, currency strategist at BNP Paribas in Singapore, said that although the U.S. QE theme was starting to look overpriced, there was a risk reserve diversification by Asian central banks could support the euro.

"As long as the market continues to see the (Bank of Japan, the Bank of England) and the Fed pumping liquidity in, it's going to go into emerging markets and emerging markets are going to pump it back into the euro," he said.

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Currency tensions map: r.reuters.com/jec96p

PDF report on currencies: r.reuters.com/gez77p

Graphic on futures positioning r.reuters.com/kus26k

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DOLLAR REBOUND DUE?

Minutes of the Fed's Sept. 21 meeting showed officials thought the struggling U.S. recovery might soon need more help and they discussed several ways to provide it, including the possibilities of adopting a price-level target and of buying more longer-term U.S. government debt. [ID:nN12188145]

The market has gone very short of dollars on QE expectations, raising the risk of a rebound as it becomes harder to sell it down further.

Many traders say that if the Fed opts for a much smaller QE programme than the $1 trillion in asset purchases some are talking about, the dollar could benefit from a short squeeze.

"A large amount of QE has been priced in by the market and we feel that any easing will be a drip feed one, with the Fed tying further action to the data," said Raghav Subbaro, currency strategist at Barclays Capital. "That should leave the market disappointed."

But the dollar index .DXY was down 0.45 percent at 77.02, not far from a nine-month low of 76.906 set last week. It has shed over 4 percent since the Fed's last meeting on Sept. 21.

The dollar also eased to a record low of 0.9546 Swiss francs CHF= while the Australian dollar AUD=D4 edged back towards last week's 28-year high of $0.9918.

The dollar was 0.15 percent higher against the yen at 81.90 yen JPY=, supported by nervousness that Japanese authorities could intervene the closer it gets to its record low of 79.75 yen. The dollar hit a 15-year low of 81.37 yen on Monday.

Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda told parliament he could not say whether or not Japan would intervene in the market.

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