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Monday October 30, 2006 - 11:32:54 GMT
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FOREX-Dollar consolidates near lows ahead of U.S. PCE

FOREX-Dollar consolidates near lows ahead of U.S. PCE
Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:26am ET139

(Recasts, adds quotes, changes byline)

By Toni Vorobyova

LONDON, Oct 30 (Reuters) - The dollar ticked up from last week's one-month lows against major currencies on Monday, as investors took profits after a sell-off in the greenback that had been started by weaker than forecast U.S. growth data.

News on Friday that the world's biggest economy grew just 1.6 percent on an annualised basis in the third quarter -- its weakest pace in over three years -- prompted investors to step up expectations for U.S. interest rate cuts in early 2007.

Further clues on whether the Federal Reserve will soon need to cut rates from the current 5.25 percent will come at 1330 GMT with the release of personal consumption expenditure data for September -- the central bank's favoured inflation measure.

"We had a fairly big sell-off at the end of last week and people are not sure that we've got the momentum to get through (big levels) in the short run so there is a little bit of profit taking," said Adrian Schmidt, currency strategist at RBS Financial Markets.

"We are still looking at a softish dollar tone," he added.

By 1101 GMT, the euro was at $1.2723 , down around 0.1 percent on the day, and around 1/3 of a cent below four-week highs hit after the GDP data on Friday. The dollar was flat at 1.2492 Swiss francs and 117.52 yen .

The euro, which hit a new high against the yen last week, was down against the buoyant Japanese currency, slipping 0.2 percent on the day to 149.52 yen .

The yen got a boost as investors unwound their extreme short positions in the currency ahead of BOJ's semi-annual outlook on the economy and prices and a news conference from BOJ Governor Toshihiko Fukui on Tuesday.

The euro shrugged off comments from United Arab Emirates central bank governor that the UAE was still considering diversifying its reserves and that the euro could make up to 10 percent of the currency mix.

The remarks echoed those made by the UAE in the summer, and analysts also noted that the Gulf state holds relatively modest foreign exchange reserves -- just $23 billion last December.


U.S. September core PCE -- which excludes food and energy -- is forecast to rise 0.2 percent on the month, the same pace as in August, which would likely pull the year-on-year pace of growth back down to 2.4 percent from 2.5 percent.

"The key is whether the Fed sees this as a temporary -- energy related -- decline or a sign that a more meaningful slide back to the percent `target' is on the way," Bear Stearns said in a note to clients.

Monday also features speeches by Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker -- who has voted for a rate hike at the last three policy meetings against an on-hold consensus -- at 1330 GMT and by Chicago Fed President Michael Moskow at 1415 GMT.

After the below-consensus U.S. GDP growth on Friday, the dollar fell across the board, with the main gainer being the yen, which staged a positioning-triggered rally against most major currencies. Because of its low-yielding status, the yen has been the prime funding currency for so-called carry trades, where investors borrow cheaply in one currency and invest in higher-yielding units.

However the scope for a big short-covering rally in the yen is likely to be limited as Japanese interest rates are expected to stay low for some time to come.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


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