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Monday August 28, 2006 - 10:58:38 GMT
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FOREX-Euro hits record high vs yen, rises vs dollar

FOREX-Euro hits record high vs yen, rises vs dollar
Mon Aug 28, 2006 6:04am ET165

(Updates prices, adds fresh quotes, changes byline)

By Carolyn Cohn

LONDON, Aug 28 (Reuters) - The euro hit a record peak close to 150 yen and rose nearly half a percent against the dollar on Monday, as markets positioned ahead of U.S. data that could confirm the Federal Reserve's moderating growth outlook.

The Japanese currency was also undermined against the euro and dollar by expectations the Bank of Japan will take its time raising interest rates, following weak Japanese inflation data released last week.

Analysts said economic events scheduled in the United States and Europe later this week could shedding light on the path of monetary policy at the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.

On Tuesday, investors will scrutinise the minutes of the Fed's meeting from Aug. 8 for insight into why it left its funds rate at 5.25 percent after boosting it 17 straight times in two years to June.

The market will also look to a batch of U.S. economic data, including August payrolls on Friday and indications of price growth in the personal consumption expenditures index for July.

"If we were to see a bit more confirmation that the U.S. was heading for a hard landing, for instance from non-farm payrolls, euro/dollar should be back at the upper end of the range," said Michael Klawitter, currency strategist at Dresdner Kleinwort in Frankfurt.

"Following the Japanese CPI data last week, it's difficult to see how the BOJ can hike rates, and the market wants to see 150 printed in euro/yen."

The euro was up around a quarter percent against the yen at 149.83 yen by 0945 GMT, having hit a record peak earlier of 149.97 -- according to Reuters data -- a hair's breadth away from the psychologically important 150 yen level.

Sterling also rose against the yen to around 221.89 yen , its highest level since Oct 1998.

Against the dollar, the euro rose to $1.2805 , up around 0.45 percent from Friday's U.S. close, but more than a cent below recent two-month highs of $1.2939.

The dollar slipped a quarter percent on the day to 116.99 yen .

Traders and analysts said dealing was thin on Monday as London financial markets were closed for a holiday.


The Fed is expected to keep interest rates unchanged again in September and investors are eager to get any clues about the Fed's policy movements beyond next month.

Fed officials, including Chairman Ben Bernanke, are scheduled to speak this week, which could shed further light on the U.S. central bank's outlook.

Market players will scan statements and remarks by ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet following the central bank's policy meeting this week, when the ECB is expected to leave rates on hold at 3 percent.

The euro was steady following data on Monday showing euro zone M3 money supply annual growth at 7.8 percent in July, below the forecast 8.3 percent and previous 8.5 percent.


The yen extended losses after falling across the board late last week as a smaller-than-expected rise in the consumer price index (CPI) in July and downward revisions to back months reinforced a view that Japanese interest rates will climb only gradually.

The BOJ has held fast to its position that it will take its time in raising rates, having lifted the overnight call rate in July for the first time in six years, to 0.25 percent.

A Reuters poll taken after Friday's inflation data showed eight of 20 market participants expected the BOJ to raise interest rates by the end of the year, while five said they expected the central bank to wait until the January-March quarter.

However, euroyen futures were indicating on Monday that the market thought there would not be a rate rise by March.

The outlook for the BOJ's monetary policy has kept sentiment damp for the yen, especially against the euro as the European Central Bank is seen raising rates further before the end of the year.

Japan's Vice Finance Minister Hideto Fujii reiterated on Monday that an end to Japanese deflation was in sight.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


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