Monday November 13, 2006 - 22:10:50 GMT
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Reuters - www.reuters.com
FOREX-Dollar gains as FX reserve worries wane
FOREX-Dollar gains as FX reserve worries wane
Mon Nov 13, 2006 4:29pm ET FPRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT
(Updates with comments, refreshes prices, changes byline)
By Amanda Cooper
NEW YORK, Nov 13 (Reuters) - The dollar pared some of last week's losses and gained on the major currencies on Monday as investors reassessed the chances of foreign central banks cutting back their U.S. currency holdings.
The yen fell after the policy chief of Japan's ruling party said he opposed an interest-rate hike, raising doubts among traders about the pace of Japanese economic growth.
Speculation last week, fueled by Chinese officials over the threat of a wider move out of dollar-based assets by overseas central banks, drove the greenback to multimonth lows against most major currencies.
Analysts, however, said the weekend had given investors enough pause to realize that while some central banks may have tweaked their currency portfolios, this was not the start of a wave of diversification to the dollar's detriment.
"When the dust has settled ... investors are again realizing that we've been here before with respect to lip-service and jaw-boning, and time and again very little has surfaced," said David Mozina, Lehman Brothers head of New York foreign exchange strategy.
"I'm still one of those that (believes) a lot of this chatter has more bark than bite to it and I'm still sitting back and saying ... 'show me the money' basically," he said, adding that his bank expects enough of a pick-up in U.S. growth over the coming months to warrant another interest rate rise.
Earlier in the session, traders bought both the dollar and euro against the yen after Shoichi Nakagawa, policy chief of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told Reuters he opposed lifting interest rates from 0.25 percent, saying the impact would be "large."
That seemed to run counter to the more hawkish note sounded last week by Bank of Japan Gov. Toshihiko Fukui, who said authorities could raise rates pre-emptively.
"It's getting confusing for the market, but the truth is the data (from Japan) has not been at the level that gives them a reason to hike rates," said Meg Browne, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York.
By late afternoon in New York, the dollar was up nearly 0.5 percent on the day at 118.17 yen , while the euro was around at 151.29 yen , up about 0.2 percent from Friday and near last week's record high of 151.52 yen, according to Reuters data.
The yen may come under further pressure if Japanese growth comes in below expectations when Japan releases its July-September growth estimate at 6:50 p.m. (2350 GMT). Economists polled by Reuters expect it to have expanded 0.2 percent, the same pace as in April-June.
The euro was down 0.3 percent against the dollar to $1.2802 , nearly a cent off the 2-1/2-month high reached Friday after China's central bank chief reiterated plans to shift some of China's $1 trillion currency reserves out of dollars.
The Australian dollar was set for its biggest daily loss against the U.S. dollar in nearly two months, after the Reserve Bank of Australia said the country's severe drought would hurt economic growth in 2006-07. The Australian dollar was last down 0.7 percent at $0.7619.
Meanwhile, sterling was set for its largest daily fall in a month, having shed half a percent to $1.9009 after mixed UK producer price data.
Unlike last week, this week will be filled with economic data, with German inflation and investor confidence data and British inflation figures due on Tuesday, along with U.S. wholesale inflation for October. (Additional reporting by Steven C. Johnson in New York and Veronica Brown in London)
Â© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.
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