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Tuesday June 13, 2006 - 21:48:21 GMT
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FOREX-Dollar rises to 7-week highs vs euro, yen

FOREX-Dollar rises to 7-week highs vs euro, yen
Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:51pm ET8
(Updates prices, adds comment)

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK, June 13 (Reuters) - The dollar advanced to its highest level in seven weeks against the euro and yen on Tuesday, as nervous investors sought refuge in the greenback amid heightened global volatility and diminished investor appetite for risk.

Tuesday's higher-than-expected core U.S. producer inflation reading for May helped fuel the unwinding of positions across global markets and boost the dollar, analysts said.

The data supported expectations for an interest rate hike at the Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting later this month.

"Further unwinding of risk (exposure) to commodities has come to the benefit of the dollar, although it's trading in a little bit of a technical fashion," said Ron Simpson, director of currency analysis at Action Economics in Dobbs Ferry, New York.

"The PPI didn't really change Fed expectations -- 25 basis points have been pretty much priced in," he added.

In late afternoon trading, the euro was down around 0.4 percent from late Monday at $1.2535 after having earlier hit a seven-week low of $1.2530 according to Reuters data.

The dollar rose to a seven-week high against the yen at 115.43 yen , before trading at 115.31 yen, up 0.8 percent on the day.

Against the Swiss franc, the dollar gained 0.4 percent to 1.2391 francs , while sterling was down 0.5 percent at $1.8325 .

A number of Fed officials -- including Chairman Ben Bernanke -- have recently expressed discomfort with prospects for inflation, convincing investors the Fed will lift its key rate for a 17th straight time to 5.25 percent at its June 28-29 policy meeting.

Interest rate futures now fully reflect this and some analysts are even suggesting the Fed may not stop there.

Analysts say the prospect for both higher U.S. short-term rates and a potential slowdown in the world's largest economy have rattled markets, sparking sell-offs in assets that prosper from strong global growth -- stocks, commodities and emerging markets.

Spot gold posted its largest one-day decline since January 1991, copper hit a seven-week low and Japan's Nikkei saw its biggest daily percentage fall in two years.

Meanwhile, emerging markets equities as measured by the Morgan Stanley Emerging Market index were down almost 10 percent this week.

But despite the dollar's rally, analysts expect the currency's rebound to be limited.

"At some point, investment flows are going to find some value in the euro and yen that could limit the dollar's upside. A lot of people are actually just sitting on the sidelines waiting for this commodities-led shake-out to run its course," said Simpson of Action Economics.

Traders are now turning their attention to Wednesday's May U.S. consumer prices data for further indications on whether the Fed's tough talk on inflation is warranted.

Analysts say the dollar's fairly modest reaction to Tuesday's stronger-than-expected producer prices data has raised questions about the staying power of the currency's latest rebound.

"At the very least ... we would need to see another 0.3 percent reading on tomorrow's U.S. CPI to generate much of a dollar reaction. And it also suggests that technical will continue to bear close watching," wrote analysts from Brown Brothers Harriman in New York.


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