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Monday December 11, 2006 - 20:37:31 GMT
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FOREX-Dollar falls vs euro as Greenspan comment weighs

FOREX-Dollar falls vs euro as Greenspan comment weighs
Mon Dec 11, 2006 3:24pm ET163

(Adds quotes, updates prices)

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK, Dec 11 (Reuters) - The dollar weakened against European currencies and trimmed gains versus the yen on Monday after former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned investors to expect "a few years of dollar weakness."

The remarks from Greenspan, who addressed a business conference in Tel Aviv via video-link, accelerated the dollar's slide against the euro. Investors bought euros after his remarks, unwinding short positions built on Friday when new U.S. jobs data proved robust enough to trigger a dollar rally.

"Mr. Greenspan's comments on the dollar definitely had an effect," said Brian Dolan, director of FX research at in Bedminster, New Jersey.

"But the effect was one of triggering short-term stop orders. The fact is Mr. G is a very learned ex-Fed president. The onus is on the word "ex-"," he added.

The euro hit a session high of $1.3263, according to EBS data, after Greenspan's comments, and was last up 0.4 percent at $1.3250, having broken a three-day losing streak against the dollar.

Greenspan added that he believed it was "imprudent to hold everything in one currency," a nod to the trend of central bank reserve diversification into other currencies and which traders took as a clear sell signal.

Earlier in the session, the greenback had gained as investors prepared for another warning on inflation from the Federal Reserve, which meets on Tuesday for its last policy meeting of the year.

"I endorse our official view that the upward bias in inflation will be retained, but the intensity of this bias will be curtailed," said Stephen Jen, global head of currency research at Morgan Stanley in London.

"There will be an acknowledgment of the recent weakness in economic activities and tentative abatement in inflationary pressures. I continue to believe the Fed is likely to remain on hold until next summer, as it calmly watches the economy soft land," he added.

The Federal Open Market Committee is widely expected to leave the benchmark U.S. overnight federal funds rate unchanged at 5.25 percent, and given the note of caution from a number of Fed officials recently on inflation, there is a risk that the post-meeting statement will echo this concern once more.

The dollar pared its gains versus the yen, which had come under pressure across the board earlier in the day thanks to data last week that showed soft patches in the Japanese economy and a wire report suggesting the Bank of Japan will delay any rate hikes until early next year.

The yen hit record lows against the euro and neared eight-year lows against the British pound.

The dollar was up 0.4 percent against the yen at 116.86 yen, from a session high of 117.25 yen, while the euro was up 0.8 percent at 154.84 yen, having hit a record high of 154.87 yen on EBS .

"The broad-based weakness in the economic numbers coming out of Japan are a risk to the BoJ hiking next week but the move back higher in USD/JPY since Friday morning from just below 115.00 to above 117.00 seems to be taking a lot of that into account," said ABN AMRO strategist Dustin Reid in a note to clients.

Sterling was up 0.3 percent at $1.9582, while against the Canadian dollar , the U.S. dollar was down 0.1 percent at C$1.1477, and against the Swiss franc the dollar was down 0.3 percent at 1.2013 francs. (Additional reporting by Amanda Cooper)

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


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