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Friday November 23, 2007 - 12:54:58 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX NEWS-Dlr recovers slightly but more weakness expected

Fri Nov 23, 2007 7:02am EST

(Changes byline, updates prices, adds quotes)

By Simon Falush

LONDON, Nov 23 (Reuters) - The euro set fresh record highs versus the dollar on Friday, but the $1.50 level proved out of reach as the euro was knocked more than a cent off its peak by comments from a euro zone policymaker.

Moves in currencies were amplified by thin liquidity in the wake of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States on Thursday and with Japanese markets closed for a holiday on Friday.

ECB Governing Council member Miguel Angel Fernandez Ordonez said he saw a stronger than expected slowdown in the euro zone and that there was not enough data to dispel uncertainty about the effects of financial market turmoil.

Ordonez' comments reminded investors that the fallout from the credit crisis is not limited to the United States, where they have prompted 75 basis points worth of cuts in the fed funds rate since September and helped send the dollar to record lows.

The comments gave some respite to the dollar, which slid to new record lows versus the euro, the Swiss franc and a basket of major currencies earlier on Friday as investors raised their bets that the Federal Reserve will cut rates by at least another 25 basis points next month.

However analysts see few reasons for the resurgence in the dollar to last.

"The upward trend in the euro has been stable over the last three months and there is nothing in terms of data to say that this will turn around soon," said Johan Javeus, FX strategist at SEB Merchant Banking. "We expect the dollar to breach the $1.50 level soon."

By 1129 GMT the euro was at $1.4806, down a third of a percent on the day and well below the peak of $1.4966 set earlier in the session, according to Reuters data <EUR=>.

The euro showed little reaction to euro zone data showing faster than expected growth in the manufacturing sector but a sharper slowdown in services industry growth in November.

The Ordonez comments cheered stock markets, which like the idea of rate cuts as that reduces the cost of companies' debt and also makes equities a more attractive investment relative to government bonds.

The rise in equities (.FTEU3: Quote, Profile, Research) -- fuelled also by talk of merger and acquisition activity -- together with the sell off in euro/dollar helped drag the dollar up from 2-1/2 year troughs versus the yen <JPY=>.

At 107.90 yen however, the dollar is down more than 6 percent since the start of November and on track for its biggest monthly percentage fall versus the yen since early 2000.

The yen and the Swiss franc have both benefited in recent sessions as investors, worried about the fallout from credit market problems and the impact on the broader economy, remained averse to risk.

Worries about the fallout have been stoked by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which warned in a report on Wednesday that overall losses caused by the U.S. mortgage market crisis could conceivably hit $300 billion [ID:nL2182159].

The dollar fell to a historic low of 1.0899 Swiss francs <CHF=>, before trimming losses a little to stand at 1.1024.

Australian elections on Saturday are likely to have limited impact on the Aussie dollar, analysts said.

"Regardless of who wins the Australian elections on Saturday, the AUD should remain driven by risk perception," said Dresdner Kleinwort in a note to clients.

The high yielding Australian dollar generally suffers when risk aversion increases. It is currently steady on the day at $0.8716. (Reporting by Simon Falush; Editing by Ron Askew)

© 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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