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Monday May 14, 2007 - 10:46:50 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar dips slightly vs majors, eyes on US data

FOREX-Dollar dips slightly vs majors, eyes on US data
Mon May 14, 2007 6:42 AM ET

(Updates prices, adds quote, changes byline)

By Simon Falush

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) - The dollar was slightly weaker against major currencies on Monday, ahead of U.S. inflation data this week and speeches from Federal Reserve officials that could provide clues on whether a U.S. interest rate cut is in the offing.

The euro put in the best performance among the majors, gaining across the board as euro zone bond yields broke up to multi-year highs.

Low-yielding currencies like the yen and Swiss franc were generally under pressure while high-yielders like the New Zealand dollar benefitted from the flow into riskier assets.

"Risk appetite has come back into the market generally after slipping temporarily last week with Asian equity markets performing well overnight," said Niels From, currency strategist at Dresdner Kleinwort in Frankfurt.

The dollar recovered from a two-year low against a basket of currencies struck at the start of May to hit a one-month high last week, as investors trimmed expectations of a Fed rate cut.

But the market's bias is still towards a cut this year. There will be a focus on speeches from Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher and Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart later on Monday, ahead of U.S. consumer prices data and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's speech later in the week.

By 1020 GMT, the euro was up slightly at $1.3545 , within a couple of cents from its all-time peak above $1.3680 set in April.

The dollar was flat at 120.31 yen , having hit a two-month high last week.

The dollar index <=USD> also retreated slightly from its one-month high set last week, to trade at 82.03.

The euro was up 0.2 percent at 162.78 yen , less than one yen away from its all-time peak set earlier this month.

The kiwi dollar was up half a percent at US$0.7370 having earlier closed in on a 22-year high near $0.75 hit in April.


Investors will also look to U.S. CPI on Tuesday to gauge the strength of U.S. inflationary pressures that could suggest whether the Fed will indeed start lowering rates later in the year.

"If we get another weak signal from the core (CPI) number that's going to be a signal to sell the dollar. But it's too soon to talk about a rate cut," said Peter Frank, senior FX strategist at ABN AMRO.

"If growth stays sub-trend longer, the Fed is going to be nudging towards the first stage of taking out its tightening bias."

Producer price inflation data last week was generally softer than expected, with the core reading for April coming in flat on the month.

The yen, meanwhile, pared earlier gains, having edged up against the dollar after data showed Japanese wholesale prices rose more than expected in April, keeping the Bank of Japan on track for a interest rate increase later this year.

Expectations are mounting for the BOJ to lift rates to 0.75 percent from the current 0.50 percent in the third quarter, with swap contracts on the overnight call rate pricing in a roughly 80 percent chance of a move in September.

Data on Thursday is forecast to show solid Japanese first quarter economic growth and help set the stage for a BOJ rate hike following elections for Japan's upper house of parliament in July.

So far the yen has suffered despite the end of zero rates in Japan because yields abroad are so much higher, prompting Japanese investors to shift more funds overseas and market players to keep using the yen for carry trades.

© 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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