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Thursday May 11, 2006 - 10:19:20 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX-Dollar rebounds as China avoids manipulator tag

FOREX-Dollar rebounds as China avoids manipulator tag
Thu May 11, 2006 5:59 AM ET

(Updates price, adds quotes, changes byline)

By Natsuko Waki

LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) - The dollar gained ground against the euro and yen on Thursday, extending the previous day's climb after the U.S. Treasury stopped short of calling China a currency manipulator.

But the dollar's upside was limited as investors increasingly expect U.S. interest rates to peak soon, after the Federal Reserve tightened to 5 percent as expected on Wednesday.

"We are getting a sense of deja vu as you have a one percent move before the market runs out of steam," said Trevor Dinmore, currency strategist at Deutsche Bank.

"What is needed for another leg of dollar depreciation is signs of further deterioration in the U.S. economy, soft data -- things that would indicate a Fed pause, or signs of more deterioration of the basic balance. We need reconfirmation of negative dollar factors, structural and cyclical."

By 0940 GMT, the dollar was up 0.7 percent versus the yen at 111.31 yen , recovering from Wednesday's eight-month low of 110.08.

It rose one percent against the Swiss franc at one point, while the euro fell 0.5 percent to $1.2719 , having hit a one-year high of $1.2831 the previous day.

Major currencies showed little reaction to news the Kuwait Central Bank revalued its dinar currency by one percent, which raised speculation of a similar move across the region.

The dollar tumbled on Wednesday when the Fed's post-rate hike statement failed to alter the view that the central bank, after 16 straight rate rises, is near the end of its two-year credit tightening cycle.

The Fed said it may need to raise rates again to keep inflation down, but further tightening would increasingly depend on the economic outlook.

"We are in an environment where the market is not convinced about the dollar," said Marios Maratheftis, currency strategist at Standard Chartered.

"Even if the Fed hikes once more, for which they left their options open yesterday, the extent of the hikes will be limited. The end of tightening is well within sight."

DOLLAR NEGATIVE

In a Reuters poll taken after the Fed statement, 14 of 20 Wall Street bond dealers said they expected the central bank to hold fire at the next policy meeting at the end of June.

In contrast, the European Central Bank is expected to hike rates in June and at least once more by year-end.

Euro zone first-quarter growth doubled to 0.6 percent on the quarter for a 2 percent annual rise, according to Thursday data.

ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said the central bank was strongly vigilant on price risks and will act promptly if needed to tackle inflation dangers.

Trichet is speaking again in London at 1730 GMT.

Investors are looking to the Friday release of the U.S. trade deficit, which is expected to grow to $67 billion in March.

"The U.S. not accusing China for manipulating its currency is not going reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China so that will continue to be a negative for the U.S. dollar," said Niels Christensen, currency strategist at Societe Generale.

Treasury Secretary John Snow said in a statement after the report that the Bush administration was "extremely dissatisfied" with the slow pace at which Beijing was adopting a more flexible currency regime.

In response, China on Thursday said it would keep improving its FX system and increasing flexibility of the yuan exchange rate.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

 

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