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Friday October 12, 2007 - 11:11:45 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar breaks losing streak ahead of US data

 
Fri Oct 12, 2007 7:05am EDT

(Changes byline, updates prices, adds quotes)

By Simon Falush

LONDON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - The dollar snapped a three-day losing streak versus the euro on Friday as investors consolidated positions ahead of U.S. data that will yield further clues on the outlook for Federal Reserve rate cuts.

The dollar has suffered from expectations of lower interest rates since defaults on U.S. mortgage debt sparked broader problems in the credit markets.

Last month, the Fed slashed rates by 50 basis points to 4.75 percent, and signs of weakness in the U.S. economy will increase expectations that rates will be cut again soon.

Further clues on the likely timing of a further rate cut will come from retail sales and producer prices data at 1230 GMT.

"Currencies have been trading in narrow ranges and are in a wait-and-see mood ahead of today's data," said Audrey Childe-Freeman, European economist at CIBC World Markets.

"We would incline towards continued dollar weakness and the euro should continue to hold above $1.41."

At 1052 GMT the euro was down 0.15 percent at $1.4176 <EUR=>. The dollar was up 0.15 percent to 117.45 yen <JPY=>.

The euro was steady at 166.50 yen <EURJPY=>, about a yen below a 2-1/2 month high set on Thursday.

Euro zone industrial production increased much more than expected in August, Eurostat said on Friday. Seasonally adjusted output in the 13 countries using the euro rose 1.2 percent on the month for an annual gain of 4.3 percent -- more than double the 2.0 percent Reuters consensus forecast [ID:nL12561226].

A tumble in technology stocks -- sparked by a sell-off in shares of Chinese internet company Baidu.com -- led to a bout of profit taking on Wall Street on Thursday and fanned losses on Asian and European bourses on Friday.

However investors showed continued appetite for risk with high yielding Australian dollar close to a 23-year peak against the greenback hit the previous session <AUD=>.

WHEN WILL FED CUT AGAIN?

The odds of another Federal Reserve rate cut from its next meeting on Oct. 31 have receded somewhat, but investors see a roughly 70 percent chance of more easing this year.

Economists expect U.S. retail sales to have risen 0.2 percent in September, following a 0.3 percent increase in August. Excluding cars, sales are expected to pick up 0.3 percent.

If retail sales figures are much weaker than expected, that could revive expectations for an October rate cut.

However stronger-than-expected data could provide respite for the embattled dollar, analysts said.

"Barring a sharp negative surprise in the data, strong PPI food and energy prices and overextended longs in high-yield majors have the potential to lend some support to the dollar if equities remain under water," said Tullett Prebon in a research note.

Core producer prices are seen rising 0.2 percent on the month in September -- the same pace as in August.

Meanwhile, despite the euro's overall winning streak this week, analysts say that more significant gains may be capped on speculation that finance officials from the Group of Seven nations may express their displeasure at euro strength at a gathering next week.

© 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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