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Wednesday October 20, 2010 - 23:42:05 GMT
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FOREX NEWS - Dollar struggles on Fed view, Aussie firms

7:32pm EDT

* Dollar under pressure again on QE worries

* Greenback hovering near 15-year low vs yen

* China growth data next focus

By Ian Chua

SYDNEY, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The dollar struggled in Asia on Thursday, hovering just above a 15-year low against the yen as markets fretted about the amount of money the U.S. Federal Reserve will have to inject to shore up a faltering economy.

A report from influential consultancy, Medley Global Advisors, saying the Fed plans to buy $500 billion of Treasuries over six months and leave itself room for more buying, accelerated the selloff in the dollar in New York.

The move reversed a rally sparked by a surprise interest rate hike in China on Tuesday, the first in nearly three years.

Commodity-based currencies such as the Australian dollar were among the biggest beneficiaries of the reversal, gaining about two cents from a two-week low to $0.9858 AUD=D4.

The dollar plumbed a fresh 15-year low at around 80.84 yen JPY= in New York and was last trading at 81.05 yen.

"We are not that far away from the record low in dollar/yen. The economic outlook isn't getting any better in Japan, so the chances of the BOJ intervening are very high," said Joseph Capurso, currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank in Sydney.

The euro rose to $1.3962 EUR=, well off a two-week low of $1.3696 set earlier in the week.

"The uncertainty, not of QE itself, but of how far the Fed might go and how aggressive they will be still has the ability to undermine support for USD," said David Watt, senior currency strategist at RBC Dominion Securities in Toronto.

Watt said a perception that China's rate hike won't undermine growth contributed the unwinding of the prior risk-off move that had boosted the greenback.

There is speculation the policy tightening was a pre-emptive move ahead of China's growth data expected at 0200 GMT. The report is expected to show China's economy grew 9.5 percent year-on-year, slowing from 10.3 percent previously. [ID:nSGE69J0BT] ECONCN.

In contrast, the U.S. central bank's Beige Book on Wednesday provided the latest evidence the economy is stuck in a recovery too weak to generate new jobs, and reinforced the view in financial markets the Fed will soon ease monetary policy further. [ID:nN20236962]

The U.S. dollar index .DXY, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of six currencies, was at 77.159, having fallen more than 1 percent in New York to post its biggest daily percentage drop since July 1.

"There is no change to our core view that the dollar should edge lower, even if day-to-day movements will be erratic ahead of Super Tuesday (November 2), when U.S. mid-term elections are held and the FOMC begins a two-day meeting," said Kenneth Landon, currency strategist at JPMorgan in New York.

Landon said the 76.90 area, from which the dollar index staged a strong bounce to hit a high of 78.364 in the previous session, will now act as key support.

For dollar/yen, Landon said a test, if not a break of the all-time low below 79 yen set in 1995 remains likely. (Additional reporting by Wanfeng Zhou in NEW YORK)

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