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Friday July 6, 2007 - 10:06:48 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dlr firm before US jobs data, euro at record vs yen

FOREX-Dlr firm before US jobs data, euro at record vs yen
Fri Jul 6, 2007 4:47AM EDT

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

By Veronica Brown

LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) - The dollar clung to gains against the euro and sterling on Friday, holding off 2-month and 26-year lows respectively, after U.S. service sector data calmed talk of a possible Federal Reserve interest rate cut this year.

The yen's low-yielding status also stayed on markets' radar screens as investors remained comfortable with carry trades, sending the euro to a record high versus the Japanese currency for a second day.

Major focus was being thrown forward to U.S. non-farm payrolls data due later in the session for more clues on the trajectory of the Fed's monetary policy.

The greenback rose broadly in the previous session after the Institute for Supply Management's services index for June climbed to its highest level in a year, defying forecasts of a small decline.

A report on Thursday from private employment services company ADP Employer Services pointed to strong jobs growth, leading market participants to believe the Labor Department's jobs data at 1230 GMT will be stronger than expected.

"There was a rise in optimism after the data and that was reflected in 10-year (U.S. bond) yields and the dollar being stronger," BTM-UFJ currency economist Derek Halpenny said.

"The market is priced now for a better non-farm payrolls figure than it was yesterday, so the hurdle for further dollar gains is that little bit higher," he added.

By 0820 GMT, the dollar was flat on the day at $1.3590 against the euro, holding most of the gains made in the previous session that took it away from 2-month lows of $1.3660 and further from April's record trough hit at $1.3682.

It was up 0.19 percent at 123.20 yen , off last month's 4-1/2 year highs at 124.16. The euro was up 0.1 percent on the day at 167.39 yen, having hit a record 167.48 earlier according to Reuters data .

In a Reuters survey, economists' median forecast was for 120,000 new U.S. jobs to have been created in June compared with 157,000 jobs in May, while the unemployment rate was seen unchanged at 4.5 percent.

Sterling was steady at $2.0103 after touching $2.0207 on Wednesday, its highest level since 1981 . The Bank of England raised interest rates on Thursday, as expected, to 5.75 percent.

END OF DOLLAR WEAKNESS?

The dollar had been under pressure earlier this week due to worries about weakness in the housing market and subprime mortgage woes, as well as security concerns before Wednesday's Independence Day holiday.

While some analysts argued the dollar was poised for further upward correction on signs of economic strength, others said the overall backdrop for the U.S. currency had not changed.

"Certainly I don't think the end is near for dollar selling. The best case scenario for the U.S. is rates on hold. I don't see a scenario where they are going to be raising. This compares with circumstances where the BoE, ECB, BOJ and others will all be raising," BTM's Halpenny said.

CARRY ON

The yen stayed under pressure against high-yielding currencies as investors took advantage of low volatility in the market to build positions in carry trades.

Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui reiterated on Friday that the central bank will conduct monetary policy appropriately by closely watching economic and price conditions, offering no fresh clues on the timing of its next rate increase.

The market widely expects the BOJ to hold steady on rates at a policy meeting next week, but to raise them to a 12-year high of 0.75 percent from the current 0.50 percent in August.

"People continue to feel comfortable about selling the yen as long as the BOJ keeps the pace in its rate tightening gradual," a Japanese bank trader said.

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Reuters journalists are subject to the Reuters Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.


 

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