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Monday June 26, 2006 - 10:56:17 GMT
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FOREX-Euro recovers vs dollar, eyes record vs yen

FOREX-Euro recovers vs dollar, eyes record vs yen
Mon Jun 26, 2006 6:27am ET13

(Updates prices, adds fresh quotes, changes byline)

By Carolyn Cohn

LONDON, June 26 (Reuters) - The euro pulled away from recent two-month lows against the dollar and approached record highs against the yen on Monday, as investors adjusted positions ahead of an expected U.S. rate rise later this week.

A firmer tone in emerging market currencies, led by a gain in the Turkish lira on the back of a hefty increase in domestic interest rates, checked the greenback's recent rise, after an emerging market sell-off helped the dollar last week.

Investors took stock after the dollar hit two-month highs across the board on Friday on growing speculation the Federal Reserve will raise rates again in August, as well as by a quarter-point hike this week to 5.25 percent.

"We are seeing exactly the opposite of what happened late last week," said Niels Christensen, senior currency strategist at Societe Generale in Paris.

"The Turkish lira is stronger this morning after the rate hike and that is indirectly negative for the dollar."

The Turkish central bank raised rates by 225 basis points on Sunday.

The euro got a fresh boost after the central bank governor of the United Arab Emirates told Reuters that it plans to convert 10 percent its currency reserves into euros, although a timetable has not been put in place.

Reserve diversification into euros has been a major theme for currency markets in the past couple of years.

The euro bounced to $1.2585 , more than a cent above two-month lows set on Friday, and was trading at $1.2546 at 0953 GMT, up a quarter percent from the U.S. close.

The euro traded within a few ticks of record highs against the yen of 146.28 yen , helped by expectations of higher euro zone rates.

The euro's gains fed into dollar losses against the yen, which dipped to trade at 116.39 , 20 ticks below last week's two-month highs of 116.59.


The market is keenly awaiting the Fed's statement at the end of a two-day policy meeting on Thursday for clues about whether it will keep raising rates to stave off inflation. There has also been some speculation about a 50 basis point rate hike this week.

"There may be some nervousness in front of today's U.S. new home sales data as well, which could support a slightly bid tone in euro/dollar," said Niels From, currency strategist at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein.

The U.S. home sales data for May is scheduled to be released at 1400 GMT. About 1.15 million new homes were estimated to have been sold in May versus 1.198 million in April.


One London-based trader said there was central bank demand for the euro on Monday.

"It does seem its buying on central bank interest. The usuals -- China, Far East, Middle East type of guys," said a trader.

German inflation probably remained above 2 percent in June, regional price data showed, suggesting inflation across the euro zone continues to be well above the European Central Bank's 2 percent target rate.

ECB Governing Council member Guy Quaden kept open the possibility of a euro zone rate rise in August from the current 2.75 percent, saying in an interview in the European edition of the Financial Times that the ECB would act at its own pace.


The yen remained under pressure from uncertainty about the fate of Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui, embroiled in a scandal over his private investments

Fukui's ethical judgment has been called into question since he revealed he invested 10 million yen ($85,820) in a fund run by financier Yoshiaki Murakami who was indicted on Friday for insider trading.

"Markets are focused on two extremes -- the euphoria about possible Fed hikes, and speculation about Fukui stepping down, and that has helped the dollar against the yen," said Armin Mekelburg, currency strategist at Hypovereinsbank in Munich.

However, a Reuters poll on Monday showed many market analysts and traders still expect the Bank of Japan to raise interest rates from near zero for the first time in six years as early as July, brushing aside concerns that public outcry over Fukui's personal investments could affect policy decisions.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved


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