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Tuesday August 15, 2006 - 10:25:45 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX-Euro spikes to record high vs yen, US PPI due

CORRECTED - FOREX-Euro spikes to record high vs yen, US PPI due
Tue Aug 15, 2006 6:16am ET173

(In paragraph 17 of the FOREX report issued at 0752 GMT, please read "....with the ECB seen tightening once or twice more this year", deleting reference to continuing its quarterly pace of monetary tightening. The ECB's August 3 rate hike came two monthly meetings after the previous rise)

By Toni Vorobyova

LONDON, Aug 15 (Reuters) - The euro briefly hit a record high against the yen on Tuesday, buoyed by yield differentials, while the dollar hugged tight ranges ahead of U.S. inflation data which would give clues about the interest rate outlook.

With no major euro zone releases due, and some European countries shut for Assumption Day holiday, markets were likely to remain rangebound until the release of U.S. producer prices data for July at 1230 GMT.

Any signs of accelerating inflation in core PPI -- and in consumer prices data due on Wednesday -- would fuel talk that the Fed's decision to leave rates on hold this month marked a pause rather than an end in its tightening campaign.

"We've got PPI today, and more interestingly CPI tomorrow. ... You could say that this is the first real test of the Fed's on-hold decision last week," said Teis Knuthsen, head of FX and Fixed Income Research at Danske Markets in Copenhagen.

Expectations are for a 0.2 percent rise in the core producer price index from a month earlier, the same as the reading for June.

By 0740 GMT, the euro was slightly up on the day at $1.2736 . The dollar was down 0.3 percent at 116.36 yen .

EURO RECORD HIGH

The euro rose as high as 148.61 yen according to Reuters data -- its strongest since the single currency was launched in 1999 -- before retreating to trade at 148.07 yen, down 0.2 percent on the day .

"We came back to the highs from Aug. 10 and saw sharp rejection there ... Looking at a more medium term prospective, I am not sure we've seen the peak," said Knuthsen, forecasting that the euro could rise to 149-150 yen in coming weeks.

"There is suspicion that the Japanese economic activity is slowing a little bit, and the fact that Bank of Japan is no match for the tightening pace set for the ECB," he added.

Elsewhere, sterling ticked up against the dollar and held near last week's 8-1/2 month peaks versus the euro ahead of UK July inflation data due at 0830 GMT.

The numbers could shed some light on whether this month's surprise Bank of England rate hike was a one off or whether it is likely to be followed by another move in coming months.

U.S. DATA
As well as PPI, Tuesday sees the release of U.S. net capital flows data for June, due at 1300 GMT.

Inflows are seen at $69.9 billion, up slightly from May's $69.6 billion. That would mean the United States attracted enough capital in June to cover the $64.8 billion trade gap.

Foreign buying of Treasury bonds is also expected to have picked up in June, to $15 billion from $13.2 billion in May, in part as a result of higher risk aversion.

The NAHB housing market index for August at 1700 GMT could also be of interest given concerns about a slowdown in the housing market of the world's largest economy.

In the euro zone, the interest rates outlook seems clearer than in Britain or the United States, with the European Central Bank seen tightening once or twice more this year.

Still, the prospect of rising euro rates has done little to boost the single currency despite the ECB suggesting that more rate rises could follow this month's increase to 3 percent.

"Although the market is expecting more ECB rate rises, in terms of absolute levels, rates still have a way to go for the euro to be considered a 'high-yielding' currency," said Hideaki Furumaya, forex manager at Trust and Custody Services Bank.

Furumaya added that rates in the United States, England, Australia and New Zealand remained higher than those in the euro zone, limiting the potential benefits to the euro from carry trades in the low-yielding yen.

He said that yen crosses would stay under pressure as investors borrow the yen to buy higher-yielding currencies.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

 

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