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Friday October 20, 2006 - 10:45:25 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX-Dollar sits near post-Philly Fed lows

FOREX-Dollar sits near post-Philly Fed lows
Fri Oct 20, 2006 6:16am ET144

(Changes byline, updates prices, adds quotes)

By Veronica Brown

LONDON, Oct 20 (Reuters) - The dollar ticked up on Friday from the previous day's two week lows against the euro and yen, hit after a weak business activity survey cast doubt on whether the U.S. economy will avoid a hard landing.

The dollar posted its biggest one-day percentage fall versus a basket of currencies <=USD> in almost three months on Thursday after the Philadelphia Fed's index of business activity in the Mid-Atlantic region fell to -0.7 in October, surprising analysts who had expected a rise to 7.0.

Before the release investors had been increasingly confident that economic growth in the United States will slow in an orderly manner and that interest rates will not have to be cut soon.

"The Philly Fed was a catalyst for long dollar positions to get covered and since then we've seen a consolidation of the dollar's losses," said Adam Cole, senior currency strategist at the Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets.

By 0952 GMT, the euro was down a touch on the day at $1.2613 , just off a two-week high of $1.2642 struck on Thursday.

The yen was about 0.1 percent softer on the day at 118.25 per dollar , but the dollar was still nearly 2 yen off a 10-month high of 119.88 yen hit late last week.

Analysts said the dollar's failure to break through key resistance levels at 120 yen and $1.25 per euro earlier in the week had contributed to the selling momentum.

"The volatility and options market is continuing to tumble -- showing no appetite for a set trend at the moment," ING analyst Chris Turner said.

The yen showed little reaction to comments on Friday from Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui, who said that he expects economic growth to continue and that the BOJ will adjust interest rates gradually.

LOOKING AHEAD TO FED

Sterling hit two week highs against the dollar after stronger than expected growth data for the third quarter.

With no further major U.S. or euro zone data due on Friday, investors were looking to next week's Federal Reserve meeting for clues on where it might go next on U.S. interest rates from the current 5.25 percent. No change is expected at the Oct. 24-25 meeting.

Investors are keen to see what the post-meeting statement has to say about inflation risks.

"Leaving aside the question of when, I think it's safe for now to think that the next action is more likely to be to lower interest rates rather than to raise them," said Kikuko Takeda, a currency strategist at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

 

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