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Friday April 13, 2007 - 10:04:59 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Yen reverses course, rallies broadly before G7

FOREX-Yen reverses course, rallies broadly before G7
Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:51am ET137

(Updates price, adds quotes, changes byline)

By Natsuko Waki

LONDON, April 13 (Reuters) - The yen erased losses on Friday, sharply reversing course after hitting a record low versus the euro as investors trimmed yen-financed carry trades before a meeting of Group of Seven finance chiefs.

The G7 finance ministers and central bankers meeting in Washington on Friday and Saturday are seen as unlikely to warn officially against the weakness in low-yielding currencies like the yen or Swiss franc, which have hit historic lows versus the euro this week.

But investors, cautious ahead of the G7 meeting and also key U.S. inflation data next week, were unwinding positions.

"If people are worried the G7 might again issue a statement that the yen is undervalued, people will be uncomfortable being short yen going into the G7 meeting," said Johan Javeus, currency strategist at SEB in Stockholm.

"The market is overly worried... They (the G7) are likely to stick to their usual words. But with record high levels in euro/yen the market might be inclined to take some profits."

By 0930 GMT the dollar was down 0.6 percent at 118.39 yen , after hitting a 1-1/2 month high earlier this week. The greenback earlier reached a two-year low against a basket of currencies <.DXY>.

The euro was down 0.3 percent at 160.15 yen after hitting a record peak of 160.87 earlier. Despite a steady march to historic highs, the euro is up less than two percent against the yen since the start of the year.

The euro was up 0.3 percent at $1.3525 after hitting a two-year high of $1.3534 earlier. It is now within 1-1/2 cents of a record high set in 2004.

HUNT FOR HIGH-YIELDERS

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were boosted on Friday by growing speculation that interest rates in those countries will rise soon -- in contrast to expectations of an interest rate cut from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

"There seems to be still cautious sentiment towards having (U.S.) dollars," SEB's Javeus said.

The Aussie hit a fresh 17-year high against the greenback , while the kiwi rose to its highest in nearly two years . Both also notched up decade peaks versus the yen.

Financial officials, particularly Europeans, have been relatively quiet about currencies ahead of the G7 meeting, in contrast to a chorus of opposition to yen weakness before the previous gathering in February. Continued...

"The relative absence of official commentary ahead of the meeting is in marked contrast to February and suggests there is little prospect of any real surprises," JP Morgan said in a research note.

"To be sure, tactical risks from isolated comments could drive some near-term market volatility, but we nonetheless expect the global backdrop of easy monetary conditions to continue to support growth, risky assets and carry trades."

Investors are also looking to March producer price data from the United States, due at 1230 GMT.

Any signs of rising inflationary pressures could reignite concerns that the world's biggest economy is heading for a tough patch of slowing growth but still rising prices.

In the euro zone, the growth picture is rosy with investors expecting the ECB to raise interest rates again in June, after the central bank left the borrowing costs steady on Thursday.

Trichet said the ECB would monitor prices "very closely" -- which was interpreted as signal for a June increase.

"After Trichet yesterday, everybody is confident that we will have another rate hike in June and may be another one in the second half of the year, so it's still a very positive environment for the euro," said Niels Christensen, FX strategist at Nordea in Copenhagen.

IMF chief economist Michael Deppler told a newspaper the ECB should raise rates to 4 percent and further hikes may be necessary.

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

 

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