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Monday April 9, 2007 - 22:12:20 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar trades near 6-week high vs yen on jobs data

FOREX-Dollar trades near 6-week high vs yen on jobs data
Mon Apr 9, 2007 4:02pm ET143

By Vivianne Rodrigues

NEW YORK, April 9 (Reuters) - The dollar traded near a six-week high against the yen on Monday, as a strong reading on U.S. job creation on Friday tempered investors' expectations of a near-term interest rate cut.

Demand for the greenback rose after a government report showed the U.S. economy added 180,000 jobs last month, well above economists' forecasts, while the jobless rate fell.

That eased concern about a manufacturing slump and suggested the Federal Reserve would not need to cut rates in coming months to boost a slowing economy.

"The dollar slowly inched up against most major currencies," said Andrew Busch, global foreign exchange strategist at BMO Capital Markets in Chicago. "The jobs data on Friday took off some of the pressure for a rate cut."

In late afternoon trading in New York, the dollar was little changed at 119.32 yen , near a post-jobs report peak of 119.39 on Friday, its highest since Feb. 27.

The euro was 0.1 percent weaker at $1.3360 , while sterling fell 0.2 percent to $1.9616 . Continued...

Another major mover on Monday was the Swiss franc. The dollar rose earlier to about a 1-month high of 1.2284 and the Swiss franc also slid 0.2 percent against the euro to trade at 1.6384 . Earlier, the euro traded at 1.6389 against the franc, the highest since Sept. 1998.

Volumes were lower, with most European markets closed for Easter, and the U.S. economic calendar was bare, traders said.

The next key event for the market will be Wednesday's release of minutes from the Fed's March monetary policy meeting. The Fed left benchmark overnight rates at 5.25 percent but dropped a phrase from its economic outlook statement pointing to further policy tightening ahead.

Any sign that officials remain sensitive to inflation would likely boost the dollar, analysts said.

Longer term, though, some analysts say the dollar will come under renewed pressure as rising interest rates elsewhere continue to trim its yield advantage over other currencies.

The European Central Bank is expected to hold euro zone rates at 3.75 percent on Thursday but is seen preparing the market for a quarter-point rise at its next meeting in June.

Any dollar gains versus the yen may also be capped ahead of a meeting of Group of Seven developed nations finance ministers on Friday, some analysts said.

UBS senior currency strategist Daniel Katzive said yen weakness is likely to resume after the meeting. .

"We are not looking for market-moving developments from the meeting and, with carry trades doing well, we would be cautious about trading our medium-term bullish yen views," he said.

Traders have in recent weeks rebuilt carry trades that involve borrowing yen cheaply to fund purchases of higher-yielding currencies and assets.

G7 officials in the past have said the resulting yen weakness runs counter to Japan's economic recovery and warned that investors could get burned on such one-way currency bets.

The Bank of Japan will conclude a monetary policy meeting on Tuesday. Few expect any change to Japan's 0.50 percent rates but investors will be looking for signs of a possible rate hike in May or June.

(Additional reporting by Steven C. Johnson)

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.


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