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Monday May 1, 2006 - 21:06:49 GMT
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FOREX-Dollar rebounds, gains vs euro on Bernanke report

FOREX-Dollar rebounds, gains vs euro on Bernanke report
Mon May 1, 2006 4:50pm ET163

(Recasts, updates prices)

By Nick Olivari

NEW YORK, May 1 (Reuters) - The dollar recovered on Monday, gaining against the euro and paring major losses against the yen, after CNBC television reported that Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke had said the Fed has a flexible, not a dovish, stance on monetary policy.

The dollar's move was swift as investors latched onto any indication that the Federal Reserve will not pause in its rate raising cycle after an expected 16th consecutive quarter-percentage-point hike to 5 percent on May 10.

Fed fund futures indicated a 42 percent chance of a June hike, up from around a 30 percent chance earlier in the day.

In congressional testimony last week, Bernanke said the Fed might pause at one or more of its upcoming meetings.

The euro, which earlier on Monday hit a fresh one-year high of $1.2690, snapped a six-session winning streak, trading down 0.4 percent on the day at $1.2585 late in the New York session.

The dollar had earlier slipped to a fresh seven-month low against the yen of 112.34 yen but by late trading had pared those losses to last change hands at 113.31 yen -- still down 0.5 percent on the day.

According to CNBC, Bernanke told one of its reporters over the weekend that financial markets had misinterpreted his testimony to Congress last week. Continued...

But traders were unconvinced the rally would last.

"The rally is reactionary as the market is so short" dollars, said Craig Russell, senior foreign exchange strategist at Chicago-based ODL Securitites. "The bottom line is that Bernanke has been very clear, we are heading for a pause" in rate hikes.

Reflecting the big bets against the dollar in recent weeks, speculators on the International Monetary Market racked up a record net long position in the euro of 65,525 contracts through last Tuesday.

Bernanke's reported remarks could have been an excuse to cover these positions.

"These comments ... should also take away some enthusiasm for very large dollar shorts into these numbers, in turn curtailing the likes of euro/dollar's upside into (the U.S. jobs report) Friday," Alan Ruskin, head of strategy at RBS Greenwich Capital Markets, wrote in a research note.

Light trading may have exacerbated the moves with public holidays in much of Europe making liquidity thin on the ground in New York and leaving the dollar vulnerable to bigger price swings, traders said. Desks in Japan were also lightly staffed with many traders beginning the Golden Week holiday earlier than its official Wednesday start.

After the CNBC report, the dollar was last up 0.2 percent against the Swiss franc at 1.2410 francs, while sterling was last at $1.8255, little changed from Friday's close.

Early reports showing a pick-up in U.S. inflation in March and growth in factory activity in April did little to change the view that the Fed will raise rates once more next week and then hold off. For details, see [ID:nN01456891] and [ID:nN28246506].

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