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Monday June 12, 2006 - 10:58:58 GMT
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FOREX-Dollar holds nr 1-mth high, awaits Fed speakers

FOREX-Dollar holds nr 1-mth high, awaits Fed speakers
Mon Jun 12, 2006 6:32am ET164
(Updates prices, adds comments)

By Katie Hunt

LONDON, June 12 (Reuters) - The dollar held near a one-month high against the euro on Monday, buoyed by expectations that the Federal Reserve will bump up interest rates again for a 17th straight time later this month.

U.S. central bankers speaking later in the day are expected to underscore the view suggested by Fed officials last week that the central bank would keep tightening monetary policy.

The dollar got a boost from data on Friday showing that the U.S. trade deficit grew by less than expected in April, while separate figures showed an unexpectedly strong rise in U.S. import prices, fanning inflation worries.

"We have a few Fed speakers later today and I think they will re-erect market expectations for a June rate hike," said Chris Turner, head of FX strategist at ING.

The dollar enjoyed its best weekly gain against a basket of major currencies <.DXY> in more than a year last week.

Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto is due to speak on the economy and monetary policy at 1315 GMT. Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher also speaks, as do Fed governors Mark Olson and Susan Schmidt. The day culminates with a speech on banking supervision by Fed chairman Ben Bernanke in Washington at 2330 GMT.

By 1000 GMT, the euro was 0.3 percent down on the day at $1.2602 , near Friday's one month low of $1.2593 and almost four cents below a one-year high of $1.2979 hit at the start of last week.

Against the yen, the dollar was 0.4 percent firmer at 114.40 yen , in sight of a six-week high of 114.72 yen touched last week.


The market paid little attention to predictions from finance ministers of the G8 economic powers, who met at the weekend, for a year of strong economic growth despite high oil prices and global trade imbalances. The G8 communiqué did not specifically refer to foreign exchange rates.

The latest positioning data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, showed that euro long positions, betting on a rise in the currency, reached a new record on in the week beginning June 5, signalling the euro looks overbought.

"With a hawkish Fed and record long euro positions, it's a short-term cocktail for more euro losses," said Turner at ING.

Aggressive positions can mean that the market is becoming driven by a one-way bet and will often herald a reversal in the trend.


Monday's data calendar is relatively light in both the euro zone and the United States, with U.S. consumer inflation data for May on Wednesday the key data event for the week.

As well as Fed officials, European Central Bank Governing Council member Lorenzo Bini-Smaghi is also due to speak.

The ECB raised rates by 25 basis points last week -- less than some had expected -- to 2.75 percent and signalled that it was unlikely to speed up the pace of its once-a-quarter monetary tightening policy in coming months.

Bucking the dollar uptrend, the Canadian dollar gained around 0.3 percent versus the greenback at C$1.1040 -- around one Canadian cent away from last month's 28-year peak at C$1.0926 -- after strong jobs data on Friday.

The Canadian economy added 96,700 jobs in May, more than six times the number forecast, pushing the unemployment rate down to a 31-year low of 6.1 percent.

The yen shrugged off a report showing Japanese economic growth in the first quarter was revised up to a 3.1 percent annualised pace from 1.9 percent, reinforcing expectations the Bank of Japan will start raising rates zero as soon as July.

The BOJ is widely expected to keep rates near zero at a two-day policy meeting that starts on Wednesday, though investors will look for any clues on the timing of a rate hike.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said it would take more time for Japan to emerge from deflation.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved


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