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Tuesday May 2, 2006 - 23:40:22 GMT
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FOREX-Dollar slips, hovering near one-year lows vs euro

FOREX-Dollar slips, hovering near one-year lows vs euro
Tue May 2, 2006 4:56pm ET17
(Updates, refreshes prices)

By Nick Olivari

NEW YORK, May 2 (Reuters) - The dollar slipped on Tuesday, remaining close to one-year lows against the euro as traders overlooked dollar-friendly comments from the Fed chief and focused on data showing continuing expansion in the 12-nation euro-zone bloc.

The dollar got a boost late on Monday after CNBC television reported Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told one of its reporters over the weekend that the bank was still aggressive on inflation and was concerned markets would see it as dovish.

But that move proved short-lived with most investors positioned for more dollar weakness on concern over the U.S. trade and budget deficits, and an expected pause in the current U.S. interest rate tightening cycle.

"Overnight data out of Europe and the U.K. were both above expectations and caused a big jump in the euro and the pound," said John McCarthy, director of foreign exchange at ING Capital Markets LLC. "It's quiet in the USA today with the (dollar's) move all before we stepped into the office."

Late in New York, the euro was at $1.2615, up 0.2 percent on the day, having hit a high of $1.2667 earlier, just off Monday's one-year peak at $1.2690.

The dollar has fallen to multi-month lows against most major currencies since Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week in congressional testimony that the Fed might pause in raising interest rates. This was only days after the Group of Seven finance chiefs released a statement on currencies that many interpreted as a call for a weaker dollar.

Bernanke speaks again at a Washington, D.C., community development summit on Wednesday. Traders were hoping he would use the opportunity to clarify his comments to CNBC, but he is not expected to discuss current economic or monetary policy.

Monday's CNBC report "created some action but the dollar is now weaker than when the report came out," said Tim Mazanec, senior currency strategist at Investors Bank & Trust in Boston. "Market sentiment hasn't changed and (the dollar) is still in the downtrend of the last few weeks."

The euro got a lift from the Purchasing Managers' Index for the euro zone, which in April hit its highest since September 2000. The euro-zone PMI showed robust factory activity and heightened expectations for a more hawkish tone from the ECB's Thursday meeting, even if the bank leaves rates unchanged.

Against the yen the dollar was little changed at 113.31 yen.

Sterling gained 0.8 percent to $1.8397 after a report showed Britain's manufacturing sector unexpectedly grew at its fastest pace in 1-1/2 years last month.

The Canadian dollar rallied to its highest in almost 30 years against the U.S. dollar, supported by strong oil and commodities prices. The U.S. dollar was last at C$1.1063, down 0.6 percent, having hit C$1.1062 earlier in the day.

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Sandra Pianalto warned on Tuesday that at some point, foreign investors would tire of financing the U.S. current account deficit, with serious implications for policy. The remarks were drawn from a speech she gave in Tremezzo, Italy, on March 18, but were not publicized at that time.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved


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