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Monday April 16, 2007 - 10:24:16 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Yen falls, high yielders rally in G7 aftermath

FOREX-Yen falls, high yielders rally in G7 aftermath
Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:05am ET16

(Changes byline, adds quotes, updates prices)

By Toni Vorobyova

LONDON, April 16 (Reuters) - The yen hit a record low versus the euro on Monday after Group of Seven finance officials expressed no concern about the Japanese currency's weakness at a weekend meeting, prompting traders to load up on carry trades.

The appetite for high-yielding currencies helped propel sterling to a near-15 year peak above $1.99 as strong British data cemented expectations of another Bank of England interest rate hike as soon as next month.

The G7 repeated its call for exchange rates to reflect economic fundamentals, and cited China again by name in calling for greater currency flexibility, using the exact same wording in its communique as after its February meeting in Germany.

Traders said the lack of surprises from the G7 Washington meeting appeared to give a green light to carry trades, in which investors borrow funds in low-yielding currencies such as the yen to invest in higher-return units like sterling.

"As a result (of the G7), investors have continued leveraging into carry trades, and we've seen the yen weaken and the other low yielders weaken as well," said Adam Myers, currency strategist at UBS, adding that such a trend is likely to continue for the next couple of weeks.

The euro rose to a record high of 162.42 yen , before trimming gains to stand at 161.94 yen by 0934 GMT, up 0.4 percent on the day. It also hit a record high versus the low-yielding Swiss franc, at 1.6467 francs .

The dollar rose to 119.66 yen , its highest since late February, before briefly dipping below 119.00 yen. The U.S. currency was last at 119.47 yen, up 0.1 percent.

HIGH YIELDERS SHINE

The euro hit a two-year high around $1.3576 , setting it on a path towards the all-time high of $1.3670 struck in December 2004.

Sterling rallied to $1.9939 -- its highest since September 1992 -- after strong producer prices and housing data cemented expectations that British rates will overtake U.S. ones as soon as next month.

Analysts said that a breach of the psychologically key $2-pound level, last seen almost 15 years ago, could come this week -- with some even expecting the level to be breached later on Monday.

The New Zealand dollar, which has the highest interest rate among industrialised countries, hit a two-year high of US$0.7412 and a 17-year peak at 88.65 yen .

The Australian dollar hit a 10-year high of 99.90 yen and a 17-year peak at US$0.8357 . Continued...

DOLLAR ON THE BACKFOOT

The dollar remained weak across the board, with the exception of dollar/yen, with analysts citing a combination of independent euro strength, views that U.S. interest rates may fall and a renewed focus on U.S. deficits.

The European Central Bank is expected to raise borrowing costs at least once more this year from the current 3.75 percent to keep euro zone inflationary pressures in check.

"The market is progressively pricing in ECB tightening going forward beyond the June meeting and that is supporting the euro independently," RBC Capital Markets senior currency strategist Adam Cole said.

"But also I think there is a renewed focus more generally on the U.S. external imbalances, how financeable they are, and the apparent shift in the U.S. attitude towards China which is a nagging concern for the dollar," he added.

Monday features speeches from several Federal Reserve policymakers as well U.S. March retail sales data at 1230 GMT and net capital flows for February at 1300 GMT.

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

 

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