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Thursday October 11, 2007 - 20:21:12 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Euro rallies; Fed rate outlook weighs on dollar

Thu Oct 11, 2007 4:10pm EDT

(Updates prices, adds quote, adds detail)

NEW YORK, Oct 11 (Reuters) - The euro climbed against the dollar for the third straight session on Thursday and was on track for its biggest daily rise against the yen in three weeks as investors rediscovered a taste for risk.

Analysts said expectations of more interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve to shield the U.S. economy from housing and credit market woes boosted high-yield currencies.

The Bank of Japan's decision on Thursday to hold rates at 0.5 percent also emboldened investors to extend carry trades, which use cheaply borrowed yen to buy higher-yielding assets. Retailer Wal-Mart's (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) raised profit outlook also fed investors' risk appetite.

"Investors feel comfortable taking on more risk because there's a lot of faith now in the Fed, which has shown it's willing to fight for the economy," said Brian Taylor, chief currency trader at M&T Bank in Buffalo, New York.

The Fed slashed interest rates by half a percentage point in September, and while the odds of another cut this month have receded somewhat, markets still see a roughly 70 percent chance of more easing by year-end.

The dollar had surrendered all the gains against the euro seen after last week's strong jobs data, leaving the single currency at $1.4186 <EUR=>. It hit a lifetime high of $1.4281 last week.

The euro had climbed as high as $1.4241 on Thursday but eased slightly after European Central Bank Governing Council member Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo said 4 percent euro-zone interest rates are appropriate.

The euro rose as high as 167.73 yen <EURJPY=>, according to Reuters data, before easing to 166.26 yen.

"People are testing some hard resistance levels" on the euro/dollar and euro/yen, said Michael Woolfolk, chief currency strategist at The Bank of New York Mellon. Major euro/dollar resistance stands at 1.4280 and euro/yen at 168.95, Woolfolk said.

The dollar hit a two-month peak at 117.79 yen <JPY=>, before easing to 117.18.

The euro also climbed 0.3 percent to 1.6780 Swiss francs <EURCHF=> and gained 0.8 percent against sterling to 69.82 pence <EURGBP=>, its biggest one-day rally since March at current prices.

"All things euro are getting marked up," said a trader at a European bank in New York.

European policy-makers have worried in recent weeks that a stronger euro will undermine growth. With the Group of Seven richest countries set to meet next week, some have urged Washington to reaffirm its strong dollar policy, something U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson did on Thursday.

"A strong dollar is in our nation's interest," Paulson told Reuters as he left a meeting with President George W. Bush. He added that currency values should be set in the marketplace "based on underlying fundamentals."

But European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said on Thursday that euro-zone growth remains robust despite recent financial market volatility.

The dollar briefly pared losses against the euro after data showed the U.S. trade deficit narrowed more than expected in August, suggesting a weaker greenback may be aiding the economy by boosting exports.

However, the dollar remained under pressure as investors braced for more Fed cuts due to uncertainty about the U.S. outlook and fear that the economy will bear the brunt of a global credit crisis, said Lena Komileva, G7 market economist at Tullett Prebon in London.

"There's been a fundamental negative shift in investor attitudes toward the dollar, and it reflects a view that the Fed's last rate cut was preemptive and that they are probably more willing to front-load easing to hedge against future downside risk to the economy," she said.

The high-yielding Australian dollar pushed to $0.9060 <AUD=>, a 23-year peak, according to Reserve Bank of Australia data. The New Zealand dollar <NZD=> rose 0.7 percent against the dollar. Both currencies gained against the yen.

© 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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