Dollar up on trade data, pound hit by bomb scare

NEW YORK - A suspected plot to blow up airliners knocked the British pound lower on Thursday, while the dollar edged higher against the euro after US trade data nearly matched forecasts.

By (Rreuters)

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Published: Thu 10 Aug 2006, 10:11 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 2:10 PM

Currency trading was choppy after British police said they had arrested 21 people who planned to blow up several planes flying between Britain and the United States, prompting Britain to raise its security threat to “critical.”

Sterling, which touched a 15-month high above $1.91 early this week, was the hardest hit, while the Swiss franc rose against the pound on safe-haven flows.

The pound weakened against the dollar 0.2 percent to $1.9003 GBP, well off its recent high.

Investors also pushed the euro down 0.3 percent to $1.2823 EUR after data showed the US trade deficit narrowed slightly in June but was in line with expectations even as high energy costs kept it near historically high levels. For details, see [nN09289223].

“The fact that it narrowed from the prior month, the market took that to be slightly dollar-bullish,” said Kathy Lien, chief strategist at Forex Capital Markets in New York.

But with US interest rates now on hold, she said those gains may be short lived.

“We’ve already seen evidence that foreigners are shying away from US assets, and the feeling is it can only worsen from here now that the Federal Reserve is no longer offering an attractive yield on dollar assets,” she said.

The dollar has surprised markets with its resilience despite the Fed move Tuesday to pause in its two-year interest rate rising campaign. The euro has tried and failed several times to break convincingly above recent two-month highs around $1.2910.

“Most people expected the perceived end of the (monetary) tightening cycle could be followed by a broader shift in the market’s focus from cyclical to structural factors. But it doesn’t appear the market is there yet,” said Robert Lynch, head of G10 currency strategy for the Americas at HSBC in New York.

Yen strength

Against the yen, the dollar was down 0.25 percent at 114.99 yen JPY.

The yen also gained against the euro, with the single currency down 0.5 percent at 147.50 EURJPY after touching a fresh record high at 148.61 overnight, a move traders tied to profit-taking.

The yen also gained when China’s central bank said it would gradually increase flexibility of the yuan exchange rate. The yen is often traded as a proxy for the tightly-controlled yuan.

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