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Monday September 11, 2006 - 10:49:14 GMT
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FOREX-Euro rebounds from 6-wk lows vs dlr after Stark

FOREX-Euro rebounds from 6-wk lows vs dlr after Stark
Mon Sep 11, 2006 6:36am ET177

(changes byline, adds fresh quotes, updates prices)

By Sujata Rao

LONDON, Sept 11 (Reuters) - The euro rebounded from six-week lows against the dollar on Monday after a European Central Bank policymaker signalled that markets were correct in expecting another interest rate increase next month.

The yen also fell against the euro and hit one-week lows versus the dollar, weighed down by soft Japanese data. However analysts said there could be scope for further gains in the near future, amid speculation that the Japanese currency's weakness could be discussed at the G7 meeting on Saturday.

ECB Executive Board member Juergen Stark told France's La Tribune daily that markets had well understood the bank's signal of being strongly vigilant -- widely interpreted as signalling a hike at the ECB's next meeting in October.

Stark also told Germany's Handelsblatt that he expects euro zone inflation will remain clearly above the ECB's target this year and next and that he sees no major risk that higher interest rates would affect economic recovery in the euro area.

The comments, coming on the heels of last week's hawkish ECB bulletin, were seen as bullish for the euro and led to the breach of key stop-loss levels beyond $1.27, lending it additional strength, dealers said.

But some analysts saw the euro's gains against the U.S. and Japanese currencies as short-lived.

"We are seeing a bit of a rebound following the losses we saw last week," said Ian Stannard, senior currency strategist at BNP Paribas in London. "But I wouldn't expect it to last -there is a risk of euro/dollar pushing lower in the near term before we see a sustained turnaround."

He said the unwinding of positions from high-yield emerging market assets is likely to benefit the dollar. The new bear trends in gold and oil are also seen as dollar-supportive.

Data from the International Monetary Market showed speculators had raised their cumulative bets against the dollar to $15.1 billion through last Tuesday, suggesting scope for the U.S. currency to climb as those positions are pared back.

By 1010 GMT the euro was 0.45 percent firmer on the day at $1.2729, bouncing from earlier six-week lows of $1.2649 .

Markets are now waiting to see if ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet provides further clues on the euro zone rate outlook at his press conference later in the day at the G10 meeting.


The yen pulled back against the euro after trading near one-month highs last week when it was boosted by the unwinding of extreme short positions and talk that its weakness may be discussed by Group of Seven finance ministers this weekend.

"What we are seeing a corrective rebound after the weak Japanese data. There is obviously substantial positioning in place as far as euro/yen is concerned," Stannard said.

"But we have substantial risks ahead of the IMF/G7/World Bank meetings -- it looks as if currency flexibility will be a topic and if that's the case the yen could get some support."

The dollar rose a quarter of a percent to 117.19 yen , whilst the euro jumped about 0.7 percent to 149.25 yen and inching towards the recent record highs beyond 150 yen.

Yen strength was tempered on Monday by weak machinery orders data for July. Core private-sector machinery orders -- a key gauge of capital expenditure -- fell 16.7 percent in July from June, far more than the expected 5.3 percent decline.

This reinforces the belief that Japanese interest rates will rise only gradually from the current 0.25 percent.

"The data...reinforces the negative consequences for the yen from a yield differential perspective," BOTM-UFJ said in a note to clients.


For the dollar, the key issue is whether the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to hold rates at 5.25 percent last month marks a pause or an end to its 2-year-old tightening cycle.

Investors will watch for further clues from Fed officials speaking on Monday -- Boston Fed president Cathy Minehan at 1200 GMT, St. Louis Fed President William Poole at 1630 GMT, and a pre-recorded speech by Federal Reserve Board Governor Donald Kohn at 1515 GMT.

Elsewhere, sterling fell after data showed UK factory gate inflation slowed more than expected, further proof that a November interest rate rise is not a foregone conclusion.

The pound eased about 0.3 percent versus the euro to 68.15 and slipped 0.10 percent per dollar to $1.8677

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


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