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Friday November 17, 2006 - 11:18:42 GMT
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FOREX-Dollar rises to one-week highs on rate outlook

FOREX-Dollar rises to one-week highs on rate outlook
Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:06am ET18

(Updates price, adds quotes, changes byline)

By Veronica Brown

LONDON, Nov 17 (Reuters) - The dollar was trading around one-week highs against the euro and yen on Friday as U.S. economic data in the previous session reinforced the view that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates steady.

The dollar initially slipped after underlying U.S. October consumer prices rose by less than expected, but quickly reversed these losses after a regional Fed survey showed a rebound in factory activity.

All in all, investors gained confidence that the world's largest economy is headed for a soft landing and the Fed will maintain the U.S. currency's yield advantage with its 5.25 percent rate.

"Even though we've had a run of relatively disappointing data the bottom line from the Fed seems to be that until there is a material decline in core inflation they will not feel comfortable signalling a peak in interest rates," RBC senior currency strategist Adam Cole said.

By 1050 GMT the euro was down 0.16 percent on the day at a one week low of $1.2775 . Last week the euro hit a 2-1/2 month high near $1.29. The euro was little moved by data showing a euro zone trade surplus of 2.0 billion euros in September. [nL17879346]

The yen slipped after Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui failed to give a clearer indication about whether rates could rise as soon as December to 0.5 percent from 0.25 percent following strong third-quarter growth data earlier in the week.

The yen was also knocked briefly later after comments from the United Arab Emirates central bank governor that he did not see the yen as attractive for FX reserve diversification.

The dollar was up 0.17 percent at 118.33 yen , having hit a one-week high of 118.46 yen earlier in the session. The euro changed hands at 151.26 yen having hit a record high around 151.50 yen, according to Reuters data.

The low yielding Swiss franc also hit a 6-1/2 year low against the euro for the second time in a week, pressured by continuing carry trades and concerns over the Swiss economy's outlook.

The Philadelphia Fed's survey released on Thursday showed Mid-Atlantic manufacturers posted slight growth in November after a two-month contraction. The National Association of Home Builders index of activity rose to 33 in November, up for a second month from September's 15-year low of 30.

"The recent spate of weak U.S. data do not indicate to us that the U.S. economy is headed for a drastic slowdown," JP Morgan said in a note to clients.

For more clues on the U.S. economy's health, investors are awaiting data on housing starts in October at 1330 GMT.

Market players are also keeping an eye out for the Group of 20 gathering of finance ministers and central bankers in Melbourne over the weekend to see if any officials make comments on the yen's broad weakness.

At the September G7 meeting in Singapore, both Japanese and European officials said the yen should reflect Japan's economic recovery.

"Central banks have been highlighting the risks of carry trades in recent weeks...though there may not be any formal statement on currencies after the meeting, there will be plenty of opportunities for policymakers to comment on global imbalances, carry trades," said UBS in a note to clients.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


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