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Friday June 8, 2007 - 10:48:58 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dlr rides to 2-month peaks as Treasury yields soar

FOREX-Dlr rides to 2-month peaks as Treasury yields soar
Fri Jun 8, 2007 6:36 AM ET

(Changes byline, adds quotes, updates prices)

By Veronica Brown

LONDON, June 8 (Reuters) - The dollar hit a two-month high against a basket of major currencies on Friday as soaring U.S. government bond yields enticed foreign investors, while a rise in risk aversion supported the yen.

The sharp rise in Treasury yields -- Thursday's move was the biggest one day jump in 10-year yields in over three years -- marked the first time since July 2006 that the entire yield curve was above 5 percent.

This attracted investors looking for higher yields.

Tumbling global stocks against a backdrop of rising interest rates and bond yields lifted the yen against some currencies as investors unwound carry trades in which they borrow the low-yielding yen to fund purchases of higher yielding assets.

"The dollar is benefiting directly via the widening in U.S. (yields) over other developed markets interest rate spreads we've seen -- particularly with regard to Europe," said Steven Pearson, chief currency strategist at HBOS.

"The second thing is the general pattern of risk reduction which is also likely to benefit the dollar and also...argues for some yen strength," he added.

At 1000 GMT the euro had fallen as low as $1.3321 , its lowest since April 4 and heading for its biggest weekly loss since January. The pound was down 0.7 percent, having hit $1.9630 , also a two-month low.

Against a basket of major currencies the dollar hit a two-month high of 82.919 <=USD>.

The euro was down 0.2 percent against the yen at 162.18 yen , and the higher-yielding sterling was down 0.2 percent at 238.65 yen .

Sentiment on the euro was further weighed by data showing the biggest monthly fall in German industrial output in nearly seven years, suggesting that the euro zone's biggest economy could be starting to slow down.


Investors were looking to falling equity markets, which have prompted U.S.-based investors to liquidate some foreign equity holdings, benefiting the dollar. Japan's Nikkei share average <.N225> fell 1.5 percent, while European stocks were trading sharply lower, extending Thursday's hefty declines.

"People are watching whether stock prices find a floor or carry on sliding, keeping their guard up as a possible further sell-off in European and U.S. stock markets will have a large impact on currency exchange rates," said a trader at a Japanese trust bank.

But the biggest shifts have been in bond markets.

The huge sell-off in Treasuries on Thursday grabbed the headlines. Bill Gross, long-time bond bull and chief investment officer of PIMCO, the world's biggest bond fund, said on Thursday he was now a "bear market manager".

A surprise rate rise from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand this week, together with the European Central Bank's increase and the recent near-universal reversal of investors' U.S. rate cut expectations, have sent global bond yields soaring.

This has benefited the dollar, as U.S. yields and rate expectations have shifted the most dramatically.

On the data front, the April U.S. trade balance will be released at 1230 GMT. Economists surveyed by Reuters are predicting a deficit of $63.5 billion.

Anything narrower than that could boost U.S. growth expectations and extend the dollar's rally, analysts said.

© 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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