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Monday August 27, 2007 - 11:18:41 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Yen up, Trichet, US home sales in focus

  FOREX-Yen up, Trichet, US home sales in focus
Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:09AM EDT

(Updates prices, adds quote)

By Simon Falush

LONDON, Aug 27 (Reuters) - The yen edged higher against the dollar and euro on Monday and high yielding currencies were also up as investors continued to ponder the impact that problems in the credit market are having on financial markets.

Problems in the credit market sparked by institutions' exposure to the U.S. subprime mortgage market had led to sharp falls in high yielding currencies and yen strength as investors unwound the carry trade.

In the carry trade, investors borrow low yielding currencies like the yen to fund investments in higher yielding assets.

But new developments kept credit concerns at the centre of investors' focus and helped support the low-yielding yen.

German state-backed bank LBBW is buying subprime victim SachsenLB and the European structured finance chief at Barclays Capital has quit.

The China Construction Bank, one of the country's top four state lenders, said on Monday it held about $1 billion of U.S. subprime mortgages.

These stories kept credit concerns at the centre of investors' focus and helped support the low-yielding yen.

However, high-yielding Australian and New Zealand dollars were also trading higher as steady equity markets reassured investors that risk of further serious fall-out from credit-related problems is easing somewhat.

"The pre-requisites for the resumption of the carry trade have resumed in the last few days as volatility has come down," said Armin Mekelburg, currency strategist at Unicredit in Munich.

But he said negative news emanating from the credit market could quickly see investors unwinding carry trades again.

"It's not clear that the credit market-related turmoil is over and bad news could lead to a return to high levels of risk aversion," Mekelburg added.

At 1035 GMT, the yen was up 0.3 percent versus the euro at 158.80 <EURGBP=>. The yen also edged up versus the dollar to 116.23 <JPY=>.

The Australian dollar was up 0.6 percent versus the U.S. dollar at $0.8320 <AUD=> and the New Zealand dollar was up 0.4 percent to $0.7237 <NZD=>.


Investors are looking to a speech from European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet at 1300 GMT for clues on whether an interest rate increase at its next policy meeting is still possible.

National central bank officials told Reuters late last week that the central bank was not set on a September rate lift to 4.25 percent because of recent market turmoil. [ID:nL24820333]

However many analysts still expect a rate hike given the ECB's track record in flagging monetary policy.

"The ECB is highly concerned with projecting an image of transparency and consistency to the markets and a delay in policy after the central bank had already sent clear signs of a hike may undermine their credibility," said Forex Capital Markets in a client note.

U.S. existing home sales will be closely watched as a gauge of whether the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates.

Home sales are expected to have softened in July due to tougher lending standards and jittery investors fearful to buy until the market reaches a plateau.

© Reuters 2006. 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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