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Tuesday May 29, 2007 - 11:01:11 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar slips broadly in c.bank FX reserve shuffle

FOREX-Dollar slips broadly in c.bank FX reserve shuffle
Tue May 29, 2007 6:52 AM ET

(Recasts, changes byline, adds quotes updates prices)

By Veronica Brown

LONDON, May 29 (Reuters) - The dollar fell against major currencies on Tuesday, with dealers and analysts attributing the move to selling by emerging market central banks in routine foreign exchange reserve management.

Far Eastern central banks sold dollars for euros and sterling, most notably, a trend which Eastern European central banks later followed, analysts said.

The moves also helped the euro rebound from earlier losses following robust Japanese data -- leaving the single currency within sight of last week's record high above 164 yen.

European Central Bank policymaker comments on Tuesday also supported the single currency along with strong euro area current account data, further cementing bullish expectations for interest rates to move above the current 3.75 percent.

"There's some data on Russia's oil stabilisation fund that tends to suggest that the transactions for it happen towards the end of the month ... suggesting that the central bank could allocate its reserves towards the month end as well," ING head of currency research Chris Turner said.

"They probably acquired about $30 billion in FX reserves this month, so there's probably quite a few euros and sterling to buy," he added.

At 1019 GMT, the dollar was down a third of a percent on the day against the euro at $1.3488. It fell 0.1 percent versus the yen to 121.48 yen , back from 121.88 yen hit last Friday, its highest point since mid-February.

The euro was up 0.13 percent at 163.90 yen , moving towards last week's record high above 164.00 yen and up from around 163.15 yen earlier in London trading.

Sterling was up 0.1 percent at $1.9864 , having traded as high as $1.9899.

HAWKISH ECB SPEAK

ECB Governing Council member Axel Weber said in an interview with the Financial Times Deutschland that the bank is prepared to shift to a restrictive monetary policy if needed to keep inflation in check.

ECB Executive Board member Juergen Stark said the bank is on high alert over inflationary dangers in the euro zone and ready to respond as necessary given strong money growth and high capacity utilisation.

March investment into the euro zone came in stronger than expected. The current account was in surplus by 8.8 billion euros, stronger than the Reuters poll forecast of 5.0 billion.

"On an annual basis, the broad basic balance recorded the largest surplus in several years, and hence net inflows are still underpinning a strong euro," Danske Markets strategists said in a note to clients.

A slew of U.S. data is due this week, culminating in Friday's May employment report, which may revive receding expectations of a Federal Reserve interest rate cut.

Investors will scrutinise the minutes of the Fed's last rate-setting meeting due on Wednesday, before the release of the second estimate of first-quarter growth data on Thursday.

JAPANESE GROWTH

Earlier on Tuesday, data showed that the unemployment rate in Japan fell to 3.8 percent in April from 4.0 percent in March, while household spending rose 1.1 percent from a year earlier, far outstripping a market forecast for a 0.2 percent gain and underscoring Japan's steady economic recovery.

The Canadian dollar was off its highest level against the U.S. dollar in nearly 30 years ahead of a Bank of Canada rate decision on Tuesday.

Canada's central bank is widely expected to leave its key interest rate at 4.25 percent, but traders will scrutinise its accompanying statement for hints on how aggressively it will try to head off inflation.

© 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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