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Monday October 16, 2006 - 21:06:19 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX-Dollar falls broadly, Russia reserves lift yen

FOREX-Dollar falls broadly, Russia reserves lift yen
Mon Oct 16, 2006 4:30pm ET161

(Updates prices, adds comments)

By Dena Aubin

NEW YORK, Oct 16 (Reuters) - The dollar fell broadly on Monday on profit-taking following last week's sharp gains, while the yen strengthened against the dollar and euro after Russia's central bank said it planned to increase its Japanese currency reserves.

With Federal Reserve speakers providing little new insight on the outlook for the U.S. economy or interest rates, some traders trimmed their dollar holdings ahead of inflation data later this week.

Thanks to a recent decline in oil prices, most market players expect producer and consumer price data to point to only modest inflationary pressures. But analysts said they were alert to the risk of a stronger reading.

The Consumer Price Index on Wednesday is expected to show the core inflation rate, which strips out food and energy prices, rose 0.2 percent in September, according to a Reuters poll. Overall, prices are forecast to have fallen 0.3 percent, largely due to a decline in oil prices.

"I think the event of the week is going to be the core CPI number," said Michael Woolfolk, senior currency strategist at Bank of New York. "Our expectation is 0.2 but we think that a reading above that -- 0.3, 0.4 -- would be dollar positive because it would imply that the Fed would need to hike rates further if core CPI remained at those levels."

By mid afternoon, the dollar was down 0.43 percent at 119.09 yen , retreating from last week's 10-month high of 119.88 yen. The euro was down 0.31 percent at 149.26 after hitting a one-week low of 148.98 yen .

The euro was up slightly at $1.2530 , not far off a near 3-month low of 1.2481 hit on Friday after upbeat U.S. retail sales and consumer sentiment surveys pushed the pair through key levels. Sterling rose 0.27 percent to $1.8607 .

St. Louis Fed President William Poole said that while risks of bad news on inflation have receded a bit, he sees an equal chance of a Fed rate hike or a rate cut. His remarks had little impact on the dollar.

San Francisco Fed President Janet Yellen repeated remarks she made last week that U.S. interest rates are moderately restrictive and in an "appropriate range" given the inflation outlook.

Ahead of the CPI report on Wednesday, traders will study wholesale inflation and U.S. capital flows data on Tuesday.

The yen gained after Alexei Ulyukayev, Russia's first deputy central bank chairman, said earlier on Monday the bank had started buying yen for its reserves, aiming to bring the Japanese currency's share to "several percent" from close to zero now. Russia boasts reserves of almost $270 billion, and its coffers have swelled more than 50 percent this year on record high oil prices. For more click on [ID:nL16873787].

The announcement might have spooked some speculative investors who had amassed record positions against the yen, according to last week's latest Commodity Futures Trading Commission data.

While the announcement gave the yen a short-term boost, analysts said it was unlikely to overturn the recent trend of speculators selling yen for higher-yielding currencies in so-called "carry trades."

"The impact of Russia's suggestion to hold JPY as a reserve currency is likely to be brief and limited to a psychological impact," Divyang Shah, global strategist at IDEAglobal, wrote in a note to clients.

(Additional reporting by David McMahon and Kevin Plumberg)

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

 

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