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Tuesday April 24, 2007 - 10:14:41 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Aussie drags down high-yielders, dollar awaits data

FOREX-Aussie drags down high-yielders, dollar awaits data
Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:45 AM ET

(Updates price, adds quotes, changes byline)

By Natsuko Waki

LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) - The Australian dollar fell around one percent against both the yen and the U.S. dollar on Tuesday, dragging down the high-yielding New Zealand dollar to the benefit of low return currencies like the Swiss franc.

The U.S. dollar held steady ahead of data on housing and consumer confidence as well as a Federal Reserve regional manufacturing and services survey, which could shed light on whether the Federal Reserve would cut interest rates this year.

Surprisingly tame inflation data from Australia poured cold water on expectations of a near-term interest rate hike there and made investors more cautious about buying other currencies based on monetary tightening prospects.

"(The Aussie dollar's fall) acted as a drag somewhat to high-yielding currencies and it gave the yen a bit of support," said Daragh Maher, currency strategist at Calyon.

"Short-term the market is expecting soft numbers on (U.S.) consumer confidence and housing so they might be dollar negative. But news flows out of the U.S. haven't been that bad so there is a reluctance to take (euro/dollar) higher."

By 0930 GMT, the Australian dollar was at US$0.8258 . It also fell from last week's decade highs above 100 yen .

The kiwi dollar, which has the highest interest rates in the industrialised world at 7.5 percent, fell more than half a percent to US$0.7404 .

The euro was down slightly at $1.3564 after coming within half a cent of the 2004 record high of $1.3670 last week.

The euro was steady at 160.88 yen , off its record peak of 162.42 set last week.

The yen was also supported by short covering ahead of Japan's Golden Week holidays starting next week and before key data and a Bank of Japan monetary policy meeting on Friday.

EURO ZONE VS US

The euro's fundamental strength is intact while the outlook for the dollar appears increasingly grim, traders said.

Investors expect the European Central Bank to raise interest rates in June and perhaps again later this year.

The Greek central bank said in a report that longer-term euro zone inflation risks have risen and the ECB is prepared to act firmly to keep inflation expectations in check.

For the United States, investors expect the dollar's yield advantage will decline as problems in the housing sector could weigh on consumer sentiment, hobble growth and prompt a rate cut.

March U.S. existing home sales, April consumer confidence, Richmond Fed indexes on manufacturing and service sectors for this month are due later.

"(Data) bring the risk that the current USD recovery finds some macroeconomic justification. Firmer than expected data would force markets back from their current position of discounting a December rate cut while much weaker than expected data could spark a retreat from risk," HBOS Treasury Services said in a note to clients.

Japanese data due on Friday, including key consumer prices, is not likely to change the market's view that the BOJ will be in no rush to raise interest rates.

"Are we going to learn anything new? The short answer is no. The BOJ is going to indicate they will be slow in raising interest rates," Calyon's Maher said.

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.


 

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