Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dollar news

Dollar Falls as New York Factories Contract, G-8 Stops Short

June 16 (Bloomberg) -- The dollar fell the most against the euro in more than a week as New York state manufacturing shrank in June and the Group of Eight's weekend summit stopped short of calling for a strong U.S. currency.

An index tracking the dollar against the currencies of six major U.S. trading partners dropped from the highest level since February. The Norwegian krone was the biggest gainer versus the dollar among the major currencies and the Canadian dollar appreciated the most against the greenback in almost a month as crude oil surged to a record $139.89 a barrel.

``There's further room for disappointment for dollar bulls,'' said Mike Moran, senior currency strategist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York. ``The economy is still weak. There was too much expectation for the G-8 to say something to support the dollar.''

The dollar declined 0.6 percent to $1.5464 per euro at 10:58 a.m. in New York, from $1.5380 on June 13. The U.S. currency traded at 108.27 yen, compared with 108.19. The yen dropped 0.7 percent to 167.43 versus the euro, from 166.35, and touched 167.68, the weakest level since Oct. 15.

The U.S. currency fell 0.9 percent to 5.1825 against the Norwegian krone and 0.6 percent to C$1.0236 versus the Canadian dollar as crude oil surged. Commodities such as oil and gold make up half of Canada's exports, while Norway is the world's fifth-largest oil producer.

The dollar falls against the euro when oil rises 93 percent of the time, according to Bloomberg calculations based on value changes. Crude oil for July delivery rose to $137.93 a barrel after touching the all-time high.

`Under Pressure'

``As long as oil keeps rallying, the dollar will be under pressure,'' said Richard Franulovich, a senior currency strategist at Westpac Banking Corp. in New York.

The yen fell to an eight-month low versus the euro as reduced currency volatility encouraged investors to buy higher- yielding assets funded by low-cost loans in Japan.

Japan's currency dropped 0.9 percent to 212.50 versus the pound and 0.3 percent to 81.33 against the New Zealand dollar as investors increased carry trades in which they get funds in a country with low borrowing costs and buy assets where returns are higher. Japan's target lending rate of 0.5 percent compares with 2 percent in the U.S., 4 percent in the euro zone, 5 percent in the U.K. and 8.25 percent in New Zealand.

The risk that fluctuating exchange rates will erase carry- trade profits fell. Implied volatility on one-month euro-yen options dropped for a fourth day, declining to 10.09 percent, from 10.31 percent on June 13.

Dollar Versus Yen

The U.S. currency will rise to 110 against the yen by year- end from a previous estimate of 103, and will climb to 112 by the end of March, from a previous forecast of 105, Tokyo-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. currency strategists Tohru Sasaki and Junya Tanase wrote in a research note today.

The U.S. Dollar Index traded on ICE futures decreased for the first time in three days, falling 0.6 percent to 73.73. It touched 74.314 on June 13, the highest since Feb. 28.

The U.S. currency weakened versus the euro as a gauge of New York state manufacturing dropped. The New York Fed's general economic index decreased to minus 8.7 in June from minus 3.2 the prior month. Readings less than zero signal contraction. The New York Fed began its Empire State gauge in 2001.

The euro rose earlier versus the dollar after the European Union's statistics office reported that the inflation rate rose to 3.7 percent in May, the highest level since June 1992.

G-8 Meeting

The G-8, which comprises the U.S., Japan, Russia, Germany, France, the U.K., Italy and Canada, stuck to its practice over the weekend of not making a joint comment on currencies when central bankers are absent.

``The world economy continues to face uncertainty, and downside risks persist,'' G-8 officials said in a statement on June 14 after a meeting in Osaka, Japan. ``Elevated commodity prices, especially of oil and food, pose a serious challenge.''

The U.S. currency rose last week the most against the euro since 2005 as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said economic risks have faded, raising speculation policy makers will increase borrowing costs this year to contain inflation. The yield on two-year Treasury notes posted its biggest weekly increase in 26 years last week, rising 66 basis points to above 3 percent.

``The perception that the Fed will hike rates is still strong,'' said Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist at TD Securities Inc. in Toronto. ``Short-term rates have risen quite sharply the last couple of weeks, and that will keep the dollar sustained.''

The dollar will strengthen 3 percent to $1.50 per euro by year-end, according to the mean estimate of 39 firms surveyed by Bloomberg. Economists anticipate that the ECB will raise rates a quarter-percentage point by September and then cut borrowing costs by year-end. The Fed will boost rates three-quarters of a percentage point by the end of the third quarter of 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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