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Tuesday October 17, 2006 - 10:30:36 GMT
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FOREX-Euro steady after mixed data, dollar awaits PPI

FOREX-Euro steady after mixed data, dollar awaits PPI
Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:08am ET171

(Changes byline, adds quotes, updates prices)

By Toni Vorobyova

LONDON, Oct 17 (Reuters) - The euro held steady against the dollar on Tuesday, as mixed euro zone data did little to clarify the outlook on monetary policy beyond a widely anticipated interest rate hike in December.

The yen inched up to one-week highs against the dollar and three-week peaks versus the euro, supported by Monday's news that the Russian central bank is increasing the Japanese currency's share in its foreign exchange reserves.

In the United States the focus is on producer price and net capital inflows data later in the session for a steer on whether the economy is strong enough and inflation high enough to delay an interest rate cut well into 2007.

The German ZEW institute's index of economic expectations fell unexpectedly to a 3-1/2 year low of -27.4, but the current conditions gauge came in above forecasts at 42.9. Euro zone final September inflation was also unexpectedly revised lower.

Any negative sentiment from the ZEW and CPI was balanced by stronger-than-expected euro zone August industrial production.

"There is nothing in today's data to change the current view with regards to rates going up in December and the ECB expected to pause a little bit after that," said Audrey Childe-Freeman, European economist at CIBC World Markets.

"The ZEW is a little bit disappointing, but ... on the other hand the good news came from the industrial production figures which were stronger than expected and are positive with regards to prospects for third quarter GDP," she added.

By 0947 GMT, the euro was little changed on the day at $1.2531, having hit $1.2481 on Friday, its weakest since July.

The Canadian dollar held near Monday's 2-1/2 month lows versus the greenback with investors expecting that the Bank of Canada will hold rates at 4.25 percent at 1300 GMT but could adopt a more dovish tone in its statement.

The yen hit a one-week high at 118.62 per dollar and a three-week peak at 148.62 per euro , extending the previous day's gains on the Russian central bank's plans to up the yen's reserve share to "several percent" from close to zero now.

Japanese Finance Minister Koji Omi said on Tuesday that he welcomed Russia's decision.

Traders cited the break of a key support level around 119.00-118.90 yen per dollar area as accentuating the move. Further down, stops are located around the 118.50 area.


The U.S. producer price index for September is due at 1230 GMT, with economists forecasting a fall of 0.6 percent on the month compared with a rise of 0.1 percent in August.

The Treasury Department was due to issue net capital inflows and foreign purchases of treasuries in August at 1300 GMT, with forecasts for inflows of $50.0 billion, versus $32.9 billion in July.

"We suspect net inflows of less than $40 billion would be needed to hurt the dollar," Commerzbank said in research note.

Fed policymakers have recently voiced concerns about inflation risks -- substantially reducing expectations for U.S. rates to be cut soon -- but officials who spoke on Monday offered few fresh clues on the outlook for the economy and inflation.

Traders also remained wary of security concerns after media reports that U.S. spy satellites had detected activity that may signal North Korea is preparing for another nuclear test.

U.S. intelligence confirmed on Monday that Pyongyang had conducted an underground nuclear test last week.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


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