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Friday December 15, 2006 - 11:36:06 GMT
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FOREX-Dollar rises before CPI, tankan no help for yen

FOREX-Dollar rises before CPI, tankan no help for yen
Fri Dec 15, 2006 6:11am ET15

(Updates price, adds quotes, changes byline)

By Natsuko Waki

LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The dollar rose broadly on Friday ahead of U.S. inflation data which could help dampen expectations of an interest rate cut, and the yen slipped as an upbeat tankan survey failed to change the outlook for Japanese rates. The Bank of Japan's tankan quarterly headline index of sentiment at large manufacturers rose to a two-year high. But the data was not strong enough to reignite expectations for an interest rate hike to 0.5 percent next week.

An "Empire State" survey by the New York Federal Reserve on Thursday showed manufacturing activity slowed less than expected in December, adding to recent data which scaled back expectations of a near-term U.S. interest rate cut.

"We had a strong Empire State survey and data has been dollar supportive. If we get surprisingly strong CPI you might see the dollar extends this mini rally," said Daragh Maher, currency strategist at Calyon.

"On Japan, the market was already expecting a pretty good (tankan) number and it wasn't enough to put a December rate hike back on the agenda."

The euro was down a quarter percent on the day at $1.3112 , with the technical picture eroding expectations for the single currency to break the past record high above $1.36 anytime soon.

The dollar hit its highest level in more than three weeks at 118.26 yen , and was up 0.3 percent at 1.2184 Swiss francs , a three-week high.

The yen was trading at 154.97 yen after hitting a record low around 155.60 in the previous session. It also fell to 8-year lows against sterling .

The Swedish crown edged lower against the euro and dollar after the Riksbank raised interest rates as expected but said further monetary tightening will be in line with market expectations.


The U.S. consumer price index, due at 1330 GMT, is seen rising 0.2 percent on the month and 2.2 percent on the year in November. Core inflation, excluding volatile food and energy prices, is forecast to pick up to 0.2 percent month-on-month from 0.1 percent in October.

Thursday's data showed natural gas import prices rose 30.3 percent in November. The Fed studies import prices as a potential source of inflation in the production pipeline.

"(The rise in imported natural gas prices) suggests upside risk to our headline CPI forecast. A 0.3 percent print would support our view that the next move by the Fed is more likely to be a hike than a cut," Barclays Capital said in a note to clients.

Annual euro zone inflation accelerated last month more than initially estimated. The European Central Bank is expected to raise interest rates again next year.

U.S. November industrial production data is due at 1415 GMT, while capital flows figures for October come out at 1400 GMT.

The yen barely budged after U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, in Beijing with Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and other officials, said the United States told China it needs exchange rate flexibility in clearest possible terms.

Some traders said the yen's slip may have been due to the launch of new Japanese investment trusts featuring foreign assets.

Highlighting the hunger for higher yields abroad, data earlier this week showed foreign asset holdings at Japanese investment trusts jumped 1.09 trillion yen ($9.3 billion) in November -- the third biggest monthly increase in 17 years.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


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