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Friday April 15, 2005 - 08:53:44 GMT

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Dollar inches up ahead of U.S. capital flows

The dollar edged higher on Friday as its resilience to weak U.S. data released earlier in the week helped to boost demand and put more focus on rising interest rates than worries about deficits.

The market awaited U.S. capital flows data to see if the United States was covering its huge current account deficit. But unless the figures come in sharply below forecasts, a neutral or even moderately weak reading was not expected to dent the dollar much.

The dollar has jumped about 5.5 percent against the euro and the yen this year, benefiting from the interest rate advantage it has over currencies in countries where rates are not expected to increase any time soon.

The Federal Reserve has raised rates by a quarter percentage point seven times since June, bringing its funds rate to 2.75 percent.

Traders said dollar-buying by Japanese institutional investors and options deals helped to drive the market during Tokyo hours.

"Trust bank-related buying (of the dollar) was behind the yen selling this session as these investors invest fresh funds allocated for the new business year," Kondo said.

He added that individuals also sold the yen for dollars as they diversify risks after Japan ended a blanket state guarantee on deposits on March 31.

At 06h26 GMT, the euro fetched around $1.2790, slightly lower than late U.S. levels. It marked a two-month low of $1.2766 on Thursday

The dollar was up 0.2 percent at 108.45 yen, in sight of the five-month peak of 108.90 yen hit last week.

The U.S. currency bought around 1.2145 Swiss francs, not far from the two-month high of 1.2198 Swiss francs marked on Thursday.

Some dealers said the dollar was supported as risk-seeking investors who had sold the currency and bought commodities and other assets were starting to unwind some of those positions due to recent global weakness in stocks.

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei stock average ended down 1.66 percent, extending falls into a fifth day.

The U.S. capital flows figures, due at 13h00 GMT, are forecast to show the country attracted $65 billion in foreign capital in February.

Though that figure would be down from $91.5 billion in January, it would be above the roughly $55 billion needed each month to cover the current account deficit.

Some traders said the dollar would likely rise even if the reading is poor.


EURO/DOLLAR: Some stops were triggered on the break below $1.28 yesterday, but maybe not enough or not as many as some had hoped. However, the fact that we have not subsequently managed a decisive break above here means that we shall have to allow for another half-hearted downside attempt this morning. As and when a clear spike low is on the daily and weekly charts, and then we can say that the latest probe lower and Wave C is over. Until then, watch and wait as things can get very messy. For this morning, downside probing should complete the third dip in the broadening bottom formation we have been working in since late March. A sustained break above $1.2865 hints that this is over and then prices should rally quickly to pivotal resistance around $1.30. A weekly close above here signals this year's corrective U.S. dollar strength is over.


DOLLAR/YEN: Moves this week are slower than we had originally penciled in, but are generally seen as an attempt to stop and reverse U.S. dollar strength of the last month. Yesterday's squeeze higher was bigger and a lot more dynamic than we had thought, suggesting more desperate and nervous players. The overbought situation has eased totally and bullish momentum has collapsed with position-trimming continuing. For this morning we feel the market will try and top again in the 108.50 area, but note that while above 108.00 we cannot rule out a final squeeze through here towards 109.00. Later today and into next week we feel prices will then slide, gathering speed on the way down, to the pivotal 106.75. Below here and the trend to resumed across-the-board US dollar selling is confirmed.


STERLING/DOLLAR: Holding up marginally better than other currencies as the pound gains against other majors. Cable is still very much stuck below the pivotal $1.9000 area and until we break through here there is little point hoping that it may or may not cling to such and such a level.


@13h30 GMT: U.S. April Empire Manufacturing, U.S. March Import Price Index.

@14h15 GMT: U.S. March Industrial Production, U.S. March Capacity Utilisation

@14h45 GMT: U.S. April University of Michigan Sentiment Survey



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