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Monday June 4, 2007 - 09:43:19 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dlr holds near peaks, strong data backs steady Fed view

FOREX-Dlr holds near peaks, strong data backs steady Fed view
Mon Jun 4, 2007 5:15 AM ET

(Changes dateline, byline, adds quotes, updates prices)

By Simon Falush

LONDON, June 4 (Reuters) - The dollar stayed near an eight week high versus the euro and within reach of a 4-1/2 year peak against the yen on Monday after robust U.S. jobs data last week trimmed expectations for a Federal Reserve rate cut this year.

The low-yielding yen stayed under broad pressure as investors continued to seek higher-return assets in carry trades -- helping sterling, the Australian and New Zealand dollars to fresh multi-year peaks.

A tumble of more than 8 percent in China's stock market benchmark, the Shanghai Composite Index, gave the yen brief respite as investors trimmed carry trade positions on concerns over risk. The move was short-lived as markets reacted calmly to the slide in stocks.

Analysts said the dollar was standing firm as last Friday's U.S. employment figures, showing a higher-than-forecast 157,000 jobs were added in May, bolstered a view that the Fed was in no hurry to cut U.S. borrowing costs from the current 5.25 percent.

"The market has continued to price out (U.S.) rate cuts, and we're now down to a 15 percent chance of a cut this year which has fed into dollar sentiment," said Kamal Sharma, currency strategist at Bank of America.

By 0857 GMT, the euro was flat at $1.3447, near an eight-week low hit on Friday at $1.3391 -- and little moved by data showing euro zone producer prices rose 0.4 percent on the month in April.

The dollar was steady at 122.02 yen , close to a four month high of 122.14 yen set on Friday, and not far from January's 4-1/2 year high struck around 122.20 yen.

The single currency was steady against the yen at 164.06 , close to an all-time high of 164.33 yen hit last week.

"The yen is at very stretched levels, short positions are at their highest since mid February so there are risks of a correction," said Michael Klawitter, currency strategist at Dresdner Kleinwort in Frankfurt.

"However risk appetite is likely to remain and any corrections in yen positions are likely to be temporary."

EYES ON RATE DECISIONS

After Friday's deluge of U.S. data, focus has shifted to a series of central bank policy meetings later this week.

The European Central Bank is widely expected to lift interest rates to 4 percent from the current 3.75 percent on Wednesday.

Traders said the market has factored in a rate rise and investors would look to comments by ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet for clues about the future path of monetary policy.

"Given recent euro zone data, Trichet is likely to repeat ECB concerns about inflation, signalling more rate tightening to come," said Hideki Hayashi, a global strategist at Shinko Securities in Tokyo.

Central banks in Britain, Australia and New Zealand will also make rate announcements this week, and are all expected to leave interest rates unchanged.

However the market is pricing another British interest rate rise in coming months to 5.75 percent. A minority of analysts are forecasting a rise in borrowing costs as early as this week.

Australia and New Zealand's central banks are also seen tightening policy later this year.

Such expectations have helped push the Aussie to its highest level since April 1992 against the low-yielding yen and the kiwi to a 17-year high against the Japanese currency . Sterling also hit its highest in nearly 15 years against the yen at 242.28 yen.

© 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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