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Thursday October 14, 2010 - 10:34:15 GMT
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FOREX NEWS - Dollar pummelled after Singapore widens FX band

6:23am EDT

* Singapore widens trading band for Singapore dollar

* Euro rises above $1.4100, highest in more than 8 months

* Aussie flirts with parity, dollar index hits 2010 low

(Adds quote, detail)

By Neal Armstrong

LONDON, Oct 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar index hit the year's low on Thursday while the Australian dollar flirted with parity after Singapore widened its currency's trading band, piling more pressure on to the struggling greenback.

The Australian dollar, which boasts the highest yield among major currencies, soared to a 28-year peak at $0.9994 AUD=D4 as investors continued to dump the U.S. dollar on expectations the Federal Reserve will again start printing money next month.

With interest rates at record lows in developed markets, yield-hungry investors are piling cash into emerging markets. The tide of money is rising ahead of an anticipated second round of quantitative easing by the Fed.

"Effectively the Singapore move is a tightening of policy and it clearly shows Asian economies are at the opposite end of the spectrum compared to the spare capacity in the U.S. economy," said Chris Turner, head of FX strategy at ING.

The dollar index .DXY, which tumbled 1 percent to its weakest since December at 76.259, is on course for a test of trendline support at 75.95, with its November low of 74.17 then not far away. The 75.95 target is the trendline from two major lows in July 2008 and in November 2009.

The euro EUR=, which surged to an eight-month high above $1.4100 in European dealing, faces resistance at $1.4195, the Jan. 25 high.

With key levels having broken in most major currency pairs, investors focused on the Australian dollar's assault on parity.

"The Aussie rally is being driven by strength in the Australian economy together with supply and a general depreciation of U.S. dollars. There are barriers at parity but it's difficult to see the trend changing," said Lauren Rosborough, senior currency strategist at Westpac in London.

The Aussie eased back to $0.9951 with traders saying option barriers at $1.0000 were slowing the rally. It has gained more than 11 percent so far this year and is up around 24 percent from a low in May.

The dollar also hit the latest in a succession of record lows against the Swiss franc CHF= and slid below parity with the Canadian dollar CAD=, a level not seen since April.

Commodities rallied as the dollar fell, with gold XAU= hitting a record high and silver XAG= climbing to its priciest in 30 years. [ID:nSGE69D045]

After failing to crack $1.40 the previous session, the euro's move caught some players who had been expecting more consolidation by surprise as it triggered stops around $1.4030 and then $1.4050 in Asia and subsequently cracked the $1.41 handle in Europe. By mid-morning it had eased back to $1.4075.

CATALYST

Momentum picked up after Singapore widened the trading band for its currency and said it would maintain modest and gradual appreciation in the Singapore dollar. The Monetary Authority of Singapore sets policy by managing the Singapore dollar in a secret trade-weighted band against a basket of currencies, instead of setting interest rates. [ID:nSFK000030]

The U.S. dollar fell, touching a record low of S$1.2888 SGD=D4. The greenback fell 1 percent to a fresh 15-year low of 80.88 yen JPY= on EBS, despite wariness about Japanese intervention, nearing its record low of 79.75 hit in April 1995.

While traders think Japan could intervene at any moment to keep the yen in check, some market participants speculated that Tokyo may prefer to avoid intervention ahead of G20 meetings.

"Eighty yen is going to be a massive psychological level for the BOJ. It adds to the pressure for a massive round of monetary easing in Japan." said Turner at ING.

(Additional reporting by Hideyuki Sano)

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