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Saturday October 28, 2006 - 00:34:49 GMT
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FOREX-Dollar falls as US growth slows further in Q3

FOREX-Dollar falls as US growth slows further in Q3
Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:41pm ET144

(Updates with IMM data, refreshes prices)

By Amanda Cooper

NEW YORK, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The dollar fell to a one-month low against a basket of major currencies on Friday after the government reported a slowdown in U.S economic growth in the third quarter that was more dramatic than expected.

The soft gross domestic product data reinforced the message from the Federal Reserve this week that there was no immediate need for a move in interest rates, although it did encourage those who expect a cut in official rates.

The dollar suffered its largest daily decline in a month against the yen, and at one point hit three-week lows against the euro. In late trading in New York it registered its biggest monthly fall against a basket of currencies <.DXY> since May.

The Fed has been signaling recently that the worst of the economic slowdown has passed, said Sophia Drossos, currency strategist at Morgan Stanley in New York. "I don't think the market is sold on that view quite yet."

The dollar has been falling since Wednesday, when the Fed kept rates steady at 5.25 percent for the third consecutive meeting but issued a balanced statement that warned about lingering inflation pressures and slowing U.S. growth.

This dashed the hopes of some who had expected to see a note of caution on inflation from the Fed that would warrant more rate rises in the future, thereby adding to the dollar's higher-yield appeal among overseas investors.

Prior to the Fed's policy meeting on Wednesday, the dollar had hovered around its strongest level against the euro in three months, prompting a number of Wall Street analysts to revise up their end-of-year currency forecasts.

But the GDP report brought the greenback back to the range in which it has traded since early summer.

"The dollar failed to sort of break to the upside when it had the opportunity, and it's led people to either square positions or put active bets on that it's really a range trade and we're not on the cusp of some big breakout," Drossos said.

The Commerce Department's first estimate of GDP confirmed the slowdown in growth, with the economy expanding at just a 1.6 percent pace in the third quarter, making it the smallest increase in over three years. Markets had expected growth of 2.2 percent.

The dollar dropped to a one-month low of 117.17 yen , according to Reuters data, but managed to recoup some losses to last hold at 117.63 yen, a 0.7 percent daily fall.

Data late on Friday showed International Monetary Market speculators held a record short position in the yen in the week to Oct. 24, although some of these positions would have been unwound over the course of this week as the Japanese currency has gained broadly.

A strong consumer confidence report for October from the University of Michigan had little impact on the dollar.

"The University of Michigan was a bit better than expected, but seems insufficient to reverse the current tumble in the dollar, which has been led by dollar/yen and other yen crosses correcting lower," said Brian Dolan, director of FX research at in Bedminster, New Jersey.

"We'll need to see dollar/yen back over 117.60 to trigger any potential recovery," he added.

The euro was last up nearly 0.4 percent against the dollar at $1.2735 , having hit a three-week peak at $1.2751, while against the yen it was down 0.3 percent at 149.73 yen. (Additional reporting by Steven C. Johnson, David McMahon and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss)

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved


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