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Friday September 29, 2006 - 10:23:22 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX-Dollar firm before US PCE price data, Chicago PMI

FOREX-Dollar firm before US PCE price data, Chicago PMI
Fri Sep 29, 2006 6:03am ET162

(Updates price, adds quotes, changes byline)

By Natsuko Waki

LONDON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - The dollar rose against the euro and yen on Friday ahead of key data on U.S. inflation, as investors seek clues as to whether the next move from the Federal Reserve will be an interest rate cut.

The euro barely budged after data showed euro zone inflation fell more than expected in September to its lowest level in 3-1/2 years and expectations for future prices also slowed.

Investors are focusing on the core personal consumption expenditure (PCE) price index at 1230 GMT, the Fed's favourite measure of inflation. The September Chicago manufacturing survey is also due later.

The Fed left rates steady last week for the second straight month after ending a two-year tightening campaign which brought rates to 5.25 percent in June. After that, at one point, rate futures had priced in a 20 percent chance of a Fed rate cut as early as December.

"In a way we had a period where the interest rates market was very aggressive in discounting a U.S. growth slowdown and flirting more openly with the possibility of an early Fed cut," said David Simmonds, head of FX strategy at Royal Bank of Scotland Financial Markets.

"That's had its limits and ... we are seeing a little bit of correction to this excessive optimism of the U.S. bond market."

The dollar rose to 10-day highs of 118.12 yen , within 20 ticks of five-month highs set last month, and up nearly a quarter percent from the U.S. close

The euro fell a quarter percent to $1.2669 but hit 10-day highs against the yen of 149.81 before easing to 149.50 , steady on the day.

The core PCE price index is seen rising 0.2 percent in August, against a rise of 0.1 percent in July.

ECB policymakers Juergen Stark, Erkki Liikanen and Axel Weber speak later on Friday, ahead of next week's ECB meeting when markets expect the bank to raise rates from the current 3 percent.

RATES RATES RATES

Sterling fell to two-week lows against the euro and the dollar , extending losses made this week after dovish comments from a Bank of England policymaker and downward revisions to second quarter growth curbed near-term interest rate rise expectations.

The New Zealand dollar fell to a two-week low against the dollar after slightly weaker than expected growth data also cooled expectations for a further rise in interest rates.

Speculation about a change to the yuan's trading band heated up ahead of week-long market holidays in China next week, after China's currency has frequently hit post-revaluation highs in recent days.

U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham, the main backers of a senate bill aimed at forcing China to revalue, said on Thursday they would abandon the legislation in favour of a new bill they plan to develop early next year.

"Overall, we view the development positively. The lack of near-term protectionist escalation should build the foundations for more constructive U.S.-China dialogue and provides a more conducive backdrop for yuan reforms," JP Morgan said in a note to clients.

JAPAN DATA

The yen was also under pressure against the dollar and euro after a slew of Japanese data, including consumer prices, reinforced market expectations that the Bank of Japan will bump up interest rates only gradually from the current 0.25 percent.

Data showed that Japan's core consumer price index rose 0.3 percent in August from a year earlier and industrial production climbed 1.9 percent in August from a month earlier, matching market expectations.

While analysts said the output data provided some cause for optimism, the modest rise in consumer prices only supported expectations the BOJ will be in no hurry to tighten credit.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved

 

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