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Tuesday May 16, 2006 - 10:57:08 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX-Euro loses ground on weak German data

FOREX-Euro loses ground on weak German data
Tue May 16, 2006 6:11 AM ET

(Updates prices, adds quotes)

By Katie Hunt

LONDON, May 16 (Reuters) - The euro lost ground on Tuesday, wiping out earlier gains against the dollar, after data showed German investor sentiment fell sharply in May.

The Mannheim-based ZEW institute said its German economic expectations indicator, based on a survey of 314 analysts and institutional investors, fell to 50.0 from 62.7 in April and way below a Reuters forecast for 60.0.

"For the last while we've had better-than-expected numbers from the the euro zone," said Daragh Maher, senior currency strategist at Calyon.

"This is the first sign of some softness and coincides with an improvement in dollar sentiment over the past 24 hours so it's having a pronounced effect," he added.

The dollar enjoyed a lightning rally on Monday, rebounding from a one-year low versus the euro on global market volatility including a sell-off in commodities and stocks on worries that economic growth may suffer.

By 0945 GMT the euro was steady on the day at $1.2792 after falling as far as $1.2770 after the ZEW data. Before it was released the euro was around $1.2825, helped by market talk that it would be a strong number.

The single currency lost more than 1 percent on Monday as the greenback rallied and is still some way from the one-year high of $1.2971 hit early on Monday.

The euro was down a quarter percent at 141.08 yen after earlier hitting a 1-1/2 month low of 140.85 yen.

The Japanese economics minister Kaoru Yosano said that any rapid and speculative move in currencies should be avoided.

The dollar was at 110.24 yen , down 0.2 percent on the day and at 1.2143 Swiss francs , up a quarter percent.

The basic weak dollar theme is still there, but with global markets behaving as they are, it just reduces the appetite for any sort of positioning," Mellon Bank head of foreign exchange research Ian Gunner said.

"If there's more weakness in global markets that will leave people very jumpy and generally unwilling to carry any positioning and open new positions, which would help the dollar," he added.

U.S. INFLATION DATA DUE

Traders said the market would pay close attention to the U.S. producer price index for April due at 1230 GMT for clues about the Fed's next move, given the central bank's focus on the threat of inflation in deciding policy.

Economists forecast the index to show a rise of 0.8 percent, compared with a 0.5 percent rise in March.

The Fed has lifted its funds rates at all 16 monetary policy meetings since June 2004, helping the dollar to rise around 15 percent against the euro and the yen last year.

However, the dollar's rate advantage is widely expected to narrow in coming months on expectations the European Central Bank will lift rates to 2.75 percent in June and the Bank of Japan will boost rates from near zero during the July-September quarter.

Speculation that Washington may allow the dollar to fall further to help duce its huge trade deficit has also undermined the U.S. currency.

Treasury Undersecretary Tim Adams said on Monday that the United States did not seek to manipulate its currency for competitive reasons and currency values should be set by markets and reflect fundamentals.

The euro was earlier underpinned by hawkish comments from a key European Central Bank policymaker.

ECB chief economist Otmar Issing was quoted in a newspaper interview as saying that the ECB would tighten monetary policy at its next meeting if current growth and inflation scenarios are confirmed.

His views were echoed by ECB governing council member Christian Noyer, who said euro zone rate rises have so far been modest.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

 

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  • POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: HIGH Tue-- 08:30 GMT GB- CPI top tier confirmation of Inflation.

  • POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: Medium Tue-- 09:00 GMT DE- ZEW Survey second most important German monthly Survey.

  • POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: Medium Tue-- 09:00 GMT EZ- final HICP revision to flash report. Revisions are usually minor.

  • POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: Medium Tue-- 13:15 GMT US- Industrial Production. Top output indicator.



  • POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: Medium Wed-- 12:30 GMT US- Housing Starts and Permits revision to flash report. Useful housing leading indicator.

  • POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: Medium Wed-- 14:30 GMT US- EIA Crude. Top WTI inventory measure.



  • POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: Medium Thu-- 01:30 GMT AU- Employment. Top economic indicator.


  • POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: Medium Thu-- 02:00 GMT CN- GDP. Top economic indicator.


  • POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: HIGH Thu-- 08:30 GMT GB- Retail Sales. Top consumption indicator.


  • POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: Medium Thu-- 12:30 GMT US- Weekly Jobless. Employment Indicator.



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