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Friday June 1, 2007 - 09:12:48 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar hits near-4-mth high vs yen before U.S. data

FOREX-Dollar hits near-4-mth high vs yen before U.S. data
Fri Jun 1, 2007 4:29 AM ET

(Updates prices, adds quotes, changes byline, dateline)

By Carolyn Cohn

LONDON, June 1 (Reuters) - The dollar hit its highest in nearly 4 months against the yen and eyed 7-week highs versus the euro on Friday as markets awaited U.S. data on employment and manufacturing for clues on the outlook for U.S. interest rates.

Some investors are speculating the Federal Reserve is likely to keep rates steady at 5.25 percent in coming months, after a strong report on Chicago business activity on Thursday reinforced such views and gave a boost to the dollar.

U.S. May non-farm payrolls data is due at 1230 GMT, and the Institute for Supply Management's May manufacturing index at 1400 GMT.

"The Chicago PMI numbers yesterday suggest the ISM could surprise to the upside, the ISM is going to give you a better idea than the non-farm payrolls of what is going on in the U.S. economy. The risks are for a slightly stronger dollar," said Citi currency economist Gabriel de Kock.

The dollar rose as far as 122.02 yen , its highest since mid-February according to Reuters data, and was trading at 121.89 at 0750 GMT, up 0.15 percent from the U.S. close.

Traders are looking for a break above 122.20 yen, a 4-1/2-year high struck in January.

The dollar dipped only briefly against the yen amid concerns about carry trades after Shanghai stocks fell over 3 percent in late trade on Friday on rumours the government planned a stock capital gains tax. Three officials from the finance ministry and tax administration dismissed the rumours as speculation although middle-ranking bureaucrats in China are not always privy to sensitive policy decisions.

The euro edged down to $1.3437 , compared with a seven-week low of $1.3406 hit this week, and steadied at 163.81 yen , half a yen below recent record highs.

The single currency was little changed on purchasing managers' data showing expansion in the euro zone manufacturing sector slipped unexpectedly to its weakest rate in 15 months.


For the May U.S. non-farm payrolls report, economists forecast an increase of 130,000 jobs, compared with 88,000 jobs created in April. The unemployment rate is seen at 4.5 percent, unchanged from the previous month.

The ADP employment report on Thursday showed U.S. private employers likely added 97,000 jobs in May, compared with a forecast 120,000.

An economic derivatives auction produced an implied market forecast of a gain of 121,200 jobs in May for payrolls, below the consensus economists' forecast.

The ISM index is forecast to give a reading of 54.0, below April's 54.7 but firmly in expansionary territory above 50.0.

April personal consumer expenditure and consumer confidence data are also due at 1230 GMT.

"Further evidence in coming weeks that the U.S. economy has enjoyed a soft landing and will indeed gather economic momentum in the second half of 2007 would be a catalyst for a stronger dollar recovery," said analysts at ING in a client note.

Traders said greater risk appetite, backed by a rebound in global equity markets, encouraged investors to resume carry trades, in which low-yielding currencies like the yen are borrowed to fund investments in higher-yielding currencies and assets.

The Australian dollar hit a 15-year high against the yen and the New Zealand dollar struck a 17-year peak against the yen . The Canadian dollar touched a 15-year high against the yen on Thursday.

For the year the Canadian dollar is up 11.6 percent against the yen, while the Aussie and kiwi are both up about 7.6 percent -- outpacing the gains of the euro and dollar against the Japanese currency.

© 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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