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FOREX-Dollar slips vs yen as risk aversion eases

FOREX-Dollar slips vs yen as risk aversion eases
Mon May 29, 2006 4:16 AM ET

(changes dateline, byline, adds quotes, updates prices)

By Veronica Brown

LONDON, May 29 (Reuters) - The dollar eased against the yen and euro on Monday as investors regained their appetite for risk after recent market jitters, but trade was thinned by public holidays in the United States and Britain.

The dollar had posted gains in recent weeks, benefiting from a sell-off in stock markets, emerging market currencies and commodities that caused investors to convert riskier holdings into cash, but analysts said that impulse was fading.

"We're seeing some stabilisation after a bit of a panic in the last week or so, equities are coming back this morning and Bund futures are losing a few ticks," Peter Fontaine, currency strategist at KBC in Brussels, said.

"There are several signals that the risk aversion story is incorporated into the market and we can now move on," he added.

The U.S. currency failed to break above 113 yen last week but kept some distance from an eight-month low just under 109 yen hit earlier in May.

By 0800 GMT, the dollar was down a third of a percent on the day at 112.27 yen .

The euro was up 0.13 percent at $1.2748 , but still more than two cents below its one-year high around $1.2970 hit in mid-May.

The single European currency eased to 143.15 yen from around 143.55 yen.

The euro showed little reaction to upbeat German consumer confidence data and euro zone current account and investment figures.

The forward-looking GfK consumer sentiment indicator rose to 6.8 in June -- the highest reading since late 2001 -- from an upwardly revised 5.8 in May, the Nuremberg-based group said, while the euro zone current account deficit narrowed to 3.2 billion euros in March from 4.0 billion in February.

Financial markets in London and the United States, the world's two biggest currency trading centres, are closed on Monday for public holidays.

SNOW TO STEP DOWN?

Traders were keeping an eye out for updates on the possibility that U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow will soon step down.

U.S. media reported at the weekend that President George W. Bush was leaning towards former Commerce Department Secretary Don Evans take over the Treasury. Republican sources said last week that Snow would likely step down in June.

"Evans is likely to put pressure on Asian currencies to rise against the dollar," said analysts at JPMorgan Chase Bank in a report to clients.

The yen showed little response to Japanese retail sales data which posted a 0.6 percent fall in April from a year earlier, compared with economists' forecast for a 0.5 percent drop.

A Reuters/Jiji Press survey published on Monday showed a big majority of market players expect the Bank of Japan to end its zero-interest-rate policy in the third quarter, with July 14 cited as the most likely date.

This week is heavy with high-profile U.S. data, including the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index on Thursday and the monthly employment report on Friday.

Signs of solid economic activity and inflationary pressures could cement market expectations for another U.S. interest rate hike in June, boosting the dollar, analysts said.

For more clues about the outlook for Fed policy, the minutes of the central bank's May 10 meeting, due on Wednesday, will also be keenly digested.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

 

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