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Thursday April 26, 2007 - 20:44:22 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar climbs as euro rally pauses ahead of US GDP

FOREX-Dollar climbs as euro rally pauses ahead of US GDP
Thu Apr 26, 2007 4:33 PM ET

(Updates prices)

By Kevin Plumberg

NEW YORK, April 26 (Reuters) - The dollar rose broadly on Thursday after testing near-record lows against the euro for two consecutive sessions, but sentiment remained negative ahead of U.S. economic growth data due on Friday.

The yen fell broadly, hitting a record low against the euro, ahead of a Bank of Japan policy meeting on Friday. Analysts are expecting the central bank to leave interest rates on hold at the lowest level in the developed world -- 0.5 percent -- for several months yet.

Investors took profits on the euro after it hit record highs against the yen earlier in the session. That helped push the euro lower against the dollar in the absence of fresh fundamental drivers, but Friday's U.S. gross domestic product data could trigger a fresh sell-off.

"Even though it's a crowded trade, dollar sentiment remains decidedly negative," currency analysts with Brown Brothers Harriman in New York said in a research note.

"Economic data on the aggregate level remains strong," said the analysts of recent euro zone economic reports, adding, "Officials seem relatively unconcerned about the recent and orderly appreciation of the euro."

Soft U.S. economic data this week, particularly on the housing front, has contrasted with signs of robust growth in the euro zone. In addition, many European policy-makers have said European businesses are managing to deal with the strong euro.

By late afternoon, the euro was down 0.3 percent against the dollar at $1.3602 after rising as high as $1.3667 on Wednesday, according to electronic platform EBS. The all-time high reached in December 2004 stands at $1.3670.

Against the yen, the euro climbed 0.5 percent to 162.62 yen. Earlier, it had risen to a record high of 162.80 yen. The dollar rose 0.8 percent to 119.58 yen .

If the pace of U.S. GDP expansion in the first quarter meets the consensus forecast of a 1.8 percent rise, it will be the fourth consecutive quarter of below-trend economic growth. But even a number slightly above forecast may not be enough to set the ailing dollar on a path to recovery.

The dollar has weakened considerably in the past year, falling to 26-year lows against sterling and near-record lows against the euro, mainly because of slowing U.S. economic growth at a time when other major economies are still showing signs of strength.

Investors are expecting the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates at least once this year, compared with forecasts for higher rates in the euro zone and Britain, among others.

"Overall, the dollar's rebound is more technical than anything else since from a fundamental perspective, nothing has changed. The underlying trend for a weaker U.S. dollar is very much in place," said Matthew Strauss, senior currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets in Toronto.

On Wednesday, the dollar fell to a record low against a trade-weighted basket of major world currencies calculated by the Federal Reserve, the weakest since the collapse of the Bretton Woods fixed exchange-rate system in 1973.

One of the biggest movers of the day was the New Zealand dollar , which fell sharply after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand raised interest rates by a quarter of a percent to 7.75 percent on Thursday but warned that the currency was "unjustified" at exceptionally high levels.

It last traded at US$0.7385, down 1 percent.

The Canadian dollar saw volatile trading after a monetary policy report from the Bank of Canada said the slowdown in the U.S. economy is a key threat to Canada, although comments by Governor David Dodge about inflation risks should ensure that rate cuts are not on the agenda. The U.S. dollar was last at C$1.1210 , up 0.6 percent.


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