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Wednesday July 26, 2006 - 10:47:51 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX-Euro tiptoes higher after German data

FOREX-Euro tiptoes higher after German data
Wed Jul 26, 2006 6:07am ET143

(Updates prices, adds comment)

By Katie Hunt

LONDON, July 26 (Reuters) - The euro edged up against the dollar on Wednesday, on some relief buying after a key German business sentiment index came in stronger than some in the market had been positioned for.

But the dollar held on to most of the gains it made on Tuesday, when strong U.S. consumer confidence and home sales data boosted expectations the Federal Reserve will bump up interest rates for the 18th straight time next month.

The yen ticked higher against the euro and the dollar, recovering some of its recent losses, and supported by comments from a Bank of Japan policymaker warning of possible further rate rises this year.

The German Ifo business climate index fell to 105.6 in July from 106.8 in June and below a consensus forecast of 106, but the number was still above what some had been expecting in the wake of disappointing data from some other euro zone countries.

"Most economists were forecasting downside risk and the market was set up for a weaker number than the consensus. There were rumours of 103," said Adam Cole, senior currency strategist at Royal Bank of Canada.

By 1000 GMT, the euro was a touch firmer on the day at $1.2590 , up around 20 ticks from pre-Ifo levels.

The fall in the Ifo is unlikely to dent expectations for the European Central Bank to raise rates next week to 3.00 percent from 2.75 percent, analysts said.

"It would have taken a shockingly bad number to change ECB expectations. A 25 basis point rise in August is pretty much a done deal," Cole said.

CARRY TRADES LIMIT YEN GAINS

The euro and the dollar were both down around a third of a percent against the Japanese currency at, respectively, 147.09 yen and 116.82 yen .

BOJ Policy Board member Miyako Suda said the central bank should not "get behind the curve" in raising rates and markets should not assume there would be no more tightening this calendar year.

However, some analysts said the scope for yen rallies would remain limited as long as Japanese interest rates remain so much lower than those of other major economies.

"When you are standing with rates at 0.25 (percent) looking at an economy which is doing quite well, and where the inflation outlook is likely to normalise in coming years ... that suggests that rates will have to go a lot higher from here," said Teis Knuthsen, head of FX and Fixed Income Research at Danske Markets in Copenhagen.

"The short-term view however ... Japan offers 0.25 percent (rates) and the U.S. offers 5.25 percent. That carry differential is weighing on the yen."

CPI LIFTS AUSSIE

The Australian dollar rose more than half a percent on the day to hit a two-month high at US$0.7584 , after a surprise jump in consumer prices in the second quarter hardened expectations that the Reserve Bank of Australia would raise rates from 5.75 percent next week.

Against the Japanese currency, the Aussie hit a 5-1/2 month peak above 88.55 yen .

The U.S. dollar gained for a second straight day on Tuesday after the Conference Board's index of consumer sentiment rose in July and U.S. sales of existing homes dipped in June by less than economists expected.

After the data, analysts polled by Reuters gave a 60 percent chance of a Fed hike to 5.5 percent next month, broadly matching expectations in the Fed futures market.

Investors still have plenty of U.S. figures to scrutinise this week, including the Fed's Beige Book survey of economic conditions at 1800 GMT. U.S. durable goods orders and second-quarter growth numbers are also due later in the week.


© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved

 

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