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Tuesday April 10, 2007 - 10:49:40 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX NEWS-Dlr under broad pressure, yen hits record low vs euro

FOREX-Dlr under broad pressure, yen hits record low vs euro
Tue Apr 10, 2007 6:11am ET161

(Adds quotes, updates prices, changes byline)

By Veronica Brown

LONDON, April 10 (Reuters) - The dollar fell towards last week's two-year low against the euro on Tuesday, reversing gains sparked by a robust U.S. jobs report, while the yen hit a record trough versus the euro as carry trades flourished. As European traders returned from the long Easter weekend, they pushed the dollar down across the board, reacting to rising U.S.-China trade tensions and on caution ahead of this weekend's meeting of Group of Seven finance chiefs.

The U.S. currency also weakened against high-yielding currencies, hitting a 16-year low versus the Australian dollar and two-year troughs against the New Zealand dollar.

Analysts said that investors were fully on board with carry trades, where low-yielding currencies such as the yen or Swiss franc are borrowed to fund purchases of higher-return assets.

"Carry trades are performing incredibly well -- so you see the Aussie moving to fresh highs, the yen weakening and the Swiss franc also weakening. The carry trade story is continuing and that's pushing some of the crosses higher," Deutsche Bank currency strategist Bilal Hafeez said. By 1000 GMT, the euro was up half a percent at $1.3416 after hitting a two-year peak of $1.3441 last week.

The single currency hit a record high of 159.95 yen and a lifetime peak of 1.6391 Swiss francs . The euro's trade-weighted index stood at a two-year peak on Monday .

The dollar was down 0.2 percent at 119.06 yen , off last week's six-week high of 119.38.

The Australian dollar rose as high as US$0.8250 , its highest since 1990, while the New Zealand dollar hit a two-year high of US$0.7278 .

TRADE TENSION

The dollar had gained after data on Friday showed the U.S. economy added 180,000 jobs last month, well above forecasts.

As a result, short-term rate futures reduced the implied chances for Federal Reserve interest rate cuts this year. They currently price in around 10 percent for the chance of a June cut from the current 5.25 percent.

While this was positive for the dollar in the yield-driven market, investors quickly took profits.

Analysts say dollar negatives stemmed from brewing trade tensions, after Washington said it would take legal action against China for failing to stop widespread piracy and counterfeiting of U.S. goods.

China denounced the decision on Tuesday, saying the action would seriously damage the two countries' established cooperation.

"(China comments were) raising fears that China may reduce purchases of U.S. bonds, making it that much more difficult for the U.S. to finance its external deficit," Royal Bank of Canada said in a note to clients.

Investors were also cautious ahead of the G7 meeting this weekend in Washington. G7 officials have said in the past that yen weakness runs counter to Japan's economic recovery and warned investors they could be burned making one-way currency bets.

A senior Japanese finance ministry official said some G7 officials may mention the yen at the meeting but the issue will not be a key focus of the talks. A German finance ministry official said the G7 would discuss FX policy but no big surprises were expected.

The yen has been under pressure as Japanese interest rates are set to stay low for some time. The Bank of Japan left interest rates steady at 0.5 percent on Tuesday.

BOJ Governor Toshihiko Fukui said the bank will adjust interest rates gradually in line with the economy and prices.

The European Central Bank also holds a monetary policy on Thursday. It is expected to leave rates on hold at 3.75 percent on Thursday, before raising them again this year, perhaps in June.

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

 

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