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Wednesday November 1, 2006 - 10:46:41 GMT
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FOREX-Dollar consolidates losses, eyes U.S. factory data

FOREX-Dollar consolidates losses, eyes U.S. factory data
Wed Nov 1, 2006 4:50am ET28

(changes dateline, byline, adds quotes, updates prices)

By Veronica Brown

LONDON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - The dollar steadied against major rivals on Wednesday, consolidating falls to one-month lows after Tuesday's below-forecast Midwest business activity data hardened expectations for U.S. interest rates to stay on hold for now.

Analysts said the dollar may take a further trip south this week, with more data showing softness in the economy seen building arguments for borrowing costs to be cut in 2007.

Ahead of key jobs data at the end of the week, market participants were waiting for figures on U.S. manufacturing in October, due from the Institute for Supply Management at 1500 GMT.

The ADP National Employment report for October, seen by some as giving insight into Friday's jobs data, is expected at 1315 GMT.

"There's downside risk to the consensus for the ISM and the jobs report on Friday," Calyon head of global foreign exchange research Mitul Kotecha said.

"Coming of the back of the weak third quarter GDP data last week and yesterday's weak numbers as well, further data disappointments are going to result in perhaps an intensification of pressure on the dollar," he added.

The euro was holding steady against the dollar by 0920 GMT at $1.2754, having hit its highest in just over a month on Tuesday at $1.2783 . European trade was expected to be fairly quiet as several countries observed the All Saints holiday.

The single currency changed hands at 149.23 yen , off a record high of around 150.80 yen hit at the end of last week. The dollar was also flat against the yen at 116.97 yen , hovering near 116.62 yen hit on Tuesday, its lowest since late September.

The U.S. currency fell broadly on Tuesday after the National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago's barometer of business activity in October fell to the lowest since August 2005. U.S. consumer confidence also slipped slightly in October.

The Canadian dollar weakened 0.6 percent against the U.S. dollar to C$1.1263 after Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty surprised investors with plans to tax income trusts, a move that analysts said could hit Toronto stocks later in the day. For details, see [nN31247429]

Investors continued to snap up high-yielding currencies, taking the Australian dollar to a near six-month high and the New Zealand dollar to an 8-1/2-month peak.


The dollar index <.DXY>, which measures performance against a basket of currencies, fell 0.8 percent in October, the largest monthly fall since May due to heightened market expectations that the Fed will keep rates at 5.25 percent for some time.

A pause by the Fed -- or even a rate cut -- could eat into the dollar's yield advantage against rival currencies like the euro and the yen.

"Dollar sentiment is definitely sliding," said Mitsuru Sahara, senior trader at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Bank.

"Weak readings in the ISM and jobs figures could increase speculation that the Fed could cut rates by March."

He said that an ongoing chill towards the dollar could spur more unwinding in yen carry trades.

Carry trades, in which investors use low-yielding currencies like the yen to fund investments in higher yielding assets, have long battered the yen with Japanese short-term rates near zero.

The yen garnered support from a Bank of Japan outlook report on Tuesday that bolstered expectations the central bank is preparing to lift rates to 0.5 percent from the current 0.25 percent by early next year at the latest.

A Reuters poll of market participants and analysts showed that most respondents expect a rate rise to come in the first quarter of 2007, most likely in January.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


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