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Tuesday November 14, 2006 - 22:09:00 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX-Dollar falls broadly as soft US data weigh

FOREX-Dollar falls broadly as soft US data weigh
Tue Nov 14, 2006 4:40pm ET14

(Recasts; updates prices, adds GM comments)

By Amanda Cooper

NEW YORK, Nov 14 (Reuters) - The dollar ended slightly lower on Tuesday after U.S. data painted a picture of slowing wholesale inflation and some consumer fatigue, while the yen benefited from robust quarterly Japanese economic growth data.

The dollar recovered some ground against the euro, however, after French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin called for more collaboration among euro zone monetary authorities on managing the exchange rate.

His remarks were initially interpreted by some in the market as calls for a weaker euro, as some euro zone officials fear the euro's current strength may hurt European exports and slow growth.

The focus later returned to the U.S. economic data due later this week which includes consumer inflation, regional manufacturing, foreign capital inflows, and the minutes of the most recent Federal Reserve policy meeting.

"The French comments were more coincidental to the price action than the cause of it," said Daniel Katzive, currency strategist at UBS Securities in Stamford, Connecticut.

"We've heard over the years concerns from politicians in the euro zone about exchange-rate strength, but the market generally doesn't pay too much attention," he said.

By late afternoon in New York, the euro was up 0.1 percent at $1.2816 after having hit a session low of $1.2789 following Villepin's comments.

The dollar was down 0.5 percent at 117.54 yen , while the euro was down almost 0.4 percent at 150.64 yen .

The yen got a sudden boost late in the afternoon after a meeting of Detroit's Big Three automakers, General Motors Corp. (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research), Ford Motor Co. (F.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Daimler Chrysler AG's Chyrsler unit (DCX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) (DCXGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research), with U.S. President George W. Bush.

GM chief executive Rick Wagoner told reporters after the meeting that Japan "systematically" undervalued the yen and said U.S. manufacturers raised the issue directly with Bush, but added that he could not say with certainty that "it appeared the President 100 percent saw it that way."

Later in the day St. Louis Fed President William Poole said he did not think the central bank was "way behind" in its fight against inflation, and said the outlook for Fed policy was "roughly symmetrical," but his remarks did not cause many ripples in the currency markets.

The main pressure on the dollar came from data showing October core U.S. producer prices fell 0.9 percent and also from news that October retail sales fell 0.2 percent.

"These numbers are the latest indication that the U.S. economy is slowing and that inflation is in fact decelerating," said Mark Meadows, currency strategist at Tempus consulting in Washington, D.C.

"It underlies dollar weakness, not only this week, but probably throughout the remainder of the year," he said.

The dollar's decline against the yen was triggered by a report that showed Japan's economy grew at a brisk 2.0 percent annual rate in the third-quarter, double market expectations.

Analysts said that means there's still a chance the Bank of Japan will lift interest rates from 0.25 percent before the end of the year, though most traders still expect it to signal at its policy meeting later this week that it will wait until 2007.

While the U.S. federal funds rate has been steady at 5.25 percent since June, many expect the Federal Reserve's next move to be a cut in 2007. (Additional reporting by Steven C. Johnson and Vivianne Rodrigues in New York)

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

 

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