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Wednesday October 10, 2007 - 11:57:37 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar slips as markets still see yr-end US easing

Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:27am EDT

(Changes byline, updates prices, adds comment)

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

LONDON, Oct 10 (Reuters) - The dollar slipped on Wednesday on worries the Federal Reserve may still to have to cut rates this year to ease the effects of a downturn in the U.S. housing market as the currency's fall has had no inflationary impact so far.

While the latest Fed minutes showed little inclination to cut rates again in October, the general tone of the discussion suggested a willingness to ease monetary policy further before the end of the year, analysts said.

That view was reinforced by comments on Tuesday from Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President William Poole, a voter on the Fed's interest-rate setting committee, and San Francisco Federal Reserve President Janet Yellen.

Poole said the dollar's decline should not hit inflation due to the limited pass-through from currency via import prices [ID:nWAT008246].

Yellen echoed the same sentiment, saying the dollar's decline has had "surprisingly little impact" on import prices and will probably continue to do so as long as inflation expectations remain well anchored. [ID:nL10662248].

She also said a case for an additional rate cut in 2007 could be made even if the capital markets see no further financial shock. Yellen also added that the recent repricing of risk in the credit markets is in and of itself a contractionary event for the U.S. economy suggesting further easing may be necessary.

"Those comments by Poole and Yellen once again underlined the fact that while markets may have pared back expectations of a rate cut to December from October, they are still talking about an easing," said Simon Derrick, head of FX research at Bank of New York.


Implied prospects for another one-quarter point cut at the FOMC's Oct. 30-31 meeting are currently about 30 percent, compared with 64 percent before Friday's stronger-than-expected September payrolls report. But the market has fully priced in a rate cut in December by a quarter-percentage point from the current 4.75 percent.

By 1203 GMT, the dollar index -- which tracks the greenback's performance against six major currencies -- was down 0.3 on the day at 78.318 (.DXY: Quote, Profile, Research), still near Tuesday's two-week high of 78.891. On Oct. 1, the index hit an all-time low of 77.660.

The euro rose 0.3 percent to $1.4144 <EUR=>, having retreated from last week's record highs above $1.4280. Still, traders said, the euro has a downward bias and it needs to get above $1.4160 to keep its uptrend intact.

The single currency earlier received a boost as both French and Italian production data were above expectations. Coming on the heels of higher-than-forecast readings in German industrial production, the latest data from the region indicates that despite the euro's relentless rise, euro zone manufacturers are able to adjust to the high exchange rate with minimal negative impact.

"That took some political pressure off the ECB (European Central Bank) to immediately restrain euro's latest ascent, boosting the euro," said Forex Capital Markets in a research note.

The dollar was up 0.2 percent versus the yen at 117.42 yen <JPY=>, while the euro hit a 2-1/2 month high against the yen above 166 yen <EURJPY=>.

Traders said the Bank of Japan's two-day policy meeting that started on Wednesday was unlikely to have a significant impact on currencies, as the central bank is widely expected to keep the overnight call rate unchanged at 0.5 percent.

Elsewhere, the Swiss franc fell to a record low against the euro for a second day <EURCHF=>, weighed down by comments from Swiss National Bank Chairman Jean-Pierre Roth late on Tuesday that the SNB remains comfortable with the inflation outlook despite uncertainties due to the credit crisis.

© 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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