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Tuesday May 8, 2007 - 22:29:39 GMT
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Forex News - Dollar gains vs euro ahead of central bank meetings

FOREX-Dollar gains vs euro ahead of central bank meetings
Tue May 8, 2007 4:27 PM ET

(Recasts, updates prices, adds comment)

NEW YORK, May 8 (Reuters) - The dollar climbed against the euro on Tuesday in technically driven trade but fell for a third day against the yen as investors await hints from the Federal Reserve that it may lower U.S. interest rates by year-end.

Traders also sold the euro against the yen, knocking it from near last week's record high of 163.60 yen , according to electronic trading platform EBS.

The euro's slide against the dollar was mostly a technical affair, with traders taking profits after the currency fell in five of the seven sessions since touching a record high above $1.3680.

The downward pressure triggered some automatic orders to sell euros that pushed euro/dollar down to $1.3516 , according to Reuters data, a three-week low, before it edged back to $1.3546.

But analysts said the dollar still looks vulnerable in the weeks ahead, especially given recent data suggesting the U.S. economy is slowing while euro-zone growth steams ahead.

The dollar's move "is technical in nature," said Larry Smith, chief investment officer at Greenwhich, Connecticut-based Third Wave Global Investors, which oversees $400 million globally in stocks, bonds and currencies. "The European economy will continue to be stronger and the U.S. economy will continue to be weaker."

Central bank policy meetings in the United States, the euro zone and Britain this week are expected to reinforce that view.

While the Federal Reserve is seen holding rates at 5.25 percent after its meeting on Wednesday, analysts say officials may express concern about signs of slower U.S. growth.

The median estimate of economists polled by Reuters put the benchmark federal funds rate at 5 percent by year-end.

The Bank of England, meanwhile, is expected to lift rates to 5.5 percent -- the highest level in the Group of Seven wealthiest countries -- while the European Central Bank is seen signaling it will raise interest rates in June.

The dollar slipped 0.1 percent to 119.96 yen , while the euro was off 0.5 percent at 162.50 yen.

Analysts said part of the yen's rise was tied to speculative positioning and risk reduction ahead of the central bank meetings, which also weighed on U.S. stock prices.

"There is some caution going into the central bank meetings," said Carl Forcheski, vice president, corporate foreign exchange at Societe Generale in New York.

Traders said euro weakness was also partly tied to comments from German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck, who said the yen was on "a sustainable recovery course."

Some European officials have complained about yen weakness for fear it will undermine European exports and production.

A report on Tuesday showing German industrial production unexpectedly fell in March and was revised lower in February also weighed on the euro.

"People came in today and see that the euro made eight attempts to set a new lifetime high before stalling, and that's prompted them to look at the next 48 hours as an opportunity (to sell euros)," said Tim Mazanec, strategist at Investors Bank & Trust in Boston.

"But if you get the Fed sounding dovish and the ECB hawkish on rates, you can forget about this move," he said.

In other trading on Tuesday, the Australian dollar rose 0.4 percent to US$0.8284 as strong consumer spending data kept upward pressure on inflation and interest rates.


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