Friday, August 15, 2008

news forex

Euro Trades Near 5 1/2-Month Low Versus Dollar as GDP Shrinks

Aug. 14 (Bloomberg) -- The euro traded near a 5 1/2-month low against the dollar after a report showed Europe's economy contracted for the first time since the 15-nation currency was introduced almost a decade ago.

Europe's currency has traded in a range of about $1.48 to $1.51 this week after dropping 3.6 percent last week, the biggest weekly decline since January 2007. The 14-day relative strength of the euro versus the dollar indicated the greenback's gains may have been too fast to be sustained.

``The bulk of the swift downward move in the euro-dollar is behind us,'' said Todd Elmer, currency strategist at Citigroup Global Markets in New York.

The euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.4885 at 10:17 a.m. in New York, from $1.4919 yesterday. It depreciated to $1.4816 two days ago, the weakest level since Feb. 26. The euro was at 163 yen, compared with 163.43 yesterday, when it reached a three-month low of 161.40. The dollar traded at 109.52 yen, compared with 109.53.

The euro's 14-day relative strength index against the dollar was at 20.8 today. A reading below 30 typically signals a change in price direction is imminent.

The pound was little changed at $1.8717 after touching $1.8619, the lowest level in 22 months against the dollar. The Bank of England cut its economic-growth forecast yesterday, signaling it may reduce interest rates.

Pound Versus Yen

Sterling may extend its decline to 192.48 yen after the currency dropped below so-called support of 211.25 yen, said New York-based Citigroup analyst Tom Fitzpatrick and London colleague Shyam Devani, who use charts to predict currency movements, in a research note yesterday. The pound was little changed at 204.91 yen today. A support level is where buy orders are concentrated.

Traders have reduced bets the European Central Bank will raise interest rates a second time this year. The implied yield on the December Euribor futures contract was at 4.95 percent today, compared with 5.04 percent at the end of July.

Europe's gross domestic product shrank 0.2 percent in the second quarter, after growing 0.7 percent in the first three months of the year, the European Union's statistics office said today in Luxembourg. The German economy, Europe's largest, contracted for the first time in almost four years, the Federal Statistics Office said in Wiesbaden.

``We expect the euro zone to move into an outright recession,'' said Ian Stannard, a London-based currency strategist at BNP Paribas SA. ``We see a multi-year euro downtrend now developing. And data we are getting is consistent with that view.''

U.S. Jobless Claims

More Americans than forecast filed initial claims for jobless benefits last week, signaling further weakness in the labor market. The number of first-time applications decreased to 450,000 in the week ended Aug. 9, from a revised 460,000 the prior week that was higher than previously estimated. The median forecast of 41 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a drop to 435,000 from a previously reported 455,000.

Bank repossessions in the U.S. almost tripled in July, and foreclosure filings increased 55 percent from a year earlier as falling prices cut homeowner equity, said RealtyTrac Inc., a seller of foreclosure data.

The yen may rise against the dollar on speculation Japanese investors will repatriate some of their earnings on investments in U.S. Treasuries, traders said. The U.S. will pay $38.8 billion in principal and coupons on government debt tomorrow. Japan is the largest foreign owner of Treasuries, according to U.S. government data.

Japanese Bondholders

Japanese investors sold 461.3 billion yen ($4.2 billion) more overseas bonds and notes than they bought last week, the second week of sales and the most since the period ended April 18, the Finance Ministry said today in Tokyo.

``There's a great chance that the yen will appreciate,'' said Akira Takei, general manager in Tokyo for international bonds at Mizuho Asset Management Co., which oversees the equivalent of $37.3 billion. ``People want to avoid risks. Repatriation will play some part in yen strength as there is some comfort in holding funds in your own currency.''

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