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Friday October 6, 2006 - 11:08:59 GMT
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FOREX-Dollar firms on Fed-speak as market eyes payrolls

FOREX-Dollar firms on Fed-speak as market eyes payrolls
Fri Oct 6, 2006 6:24am ET253

(Changes byline, adds quotes, comments)

By Toni Vorobyova

LONDON, Oct 6 (Reuters) - The dollar ticked up across the board on Friday, supported by hawkish rate comments from a Federal Reserve official as markets awaited U.S. jobs data that could provide insight into future monetary policy.

Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Charles Plosser said on Thursday that U.S. interest rates may not be high enough to quell a recent bout of inflation.

Although Plosser is not a voting member of the U.S. central bank's Federal Open Market Committee, analysts said his comments could still reflect general Fed thinking.

His tone cast doubt over current expectations that the Fed has come to the end of its tightening cycle and that the next move in interest rates will be a cut from the current 5.25 percent, probably early next year.

"The market has moved a long way in terms of Fed expectations on the negative side, pricing in cuts for the first half of next year," said Geoff Kendrick, currency strategist at Westpac.

"So arguably the greater risk going forwards would be towards more bullish Fed expectations, so in terms of the risk rewards it's better to be long dollars going in to the (payrolls) number."

A better picture of U.S. economic health could come with non-farm payrolls, due at 1230 GMT. Economists polled by Reuters expected the data to show 125,000 jobs were created in September, with forecasts ranging from 90,000 to 200,000.

By 0948 GMT, the dollar was up 0.3 percent at 118.00 yen and up against the Swiss franc at 1.2533 francs .

The euro was a touch weaker at $1.2680 , as was sterling at $1.8761 .

Against the yen, the euro rose 0.15 percent to 149.63 yen , inching closer to August's record high of 150.78, according to Reuters data.

The euro came under pressure on Thursday after the European Central Bank raised rates to 3.25 percent as expected, but investors felt subsequent comments from President Jean-Claude Trichet offered no clear signal for further tightening beyond an expected rise in December.

But the euro bounced back versus the low-yielding yen on Friday as the ECB move still underscored the large disparity between rates in the euro zone and Japan, where the key rate is 0.25 percent.


The yen also came under pressure from heightened tension in Asia after the U.N. Security Council broadly agreed to a Japanese-drafted statement that warns North Korea of unspecified consequences if it conducts a nuclear test.

U.S. officials said the test could come within days, possibly on Sunday. Continued...

"The North Korea news forced some dealers to close long-yen positions ahead of the three-day weekend," said a trader at a Japanese trust bank, adding that the issue should not have a big impact on the yen.

Japanese markets and the U.S. bond market will be closed on Monday for holidays.

Elsewhere, the Norwegian crown slipped more than half a percent on the day to a new two-year low against the euro. The currency of the world's third biggest oil producer has been hard hit by the fall in the price of crude, which has shed more than 20 percent since early August.

"While oil continues to languish around $60 a barrel, the Nokkie will continue to be under pressure," said Kendrick at Westpac.

At 1000 GMT, the euro was up at 8.45 crowns , while oil was down 0.4 percent on the day back below $60 a barrel .

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


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