Dollar, yen rise on risk aversion; BoE in focus

LONDON - The dollar and yen rose broadly on Thursday as falling share prices tempered demand for higher-risk investments, while the euro fell as dismal economic data kept concerns intact about the deteriorating euro zone economy.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Thu 8 Jan 2009, 7:14 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 4:12 AM

Sterling slipped against the dollar ahead of a rate announcement by the Bank of England due at 1200 GMT. The central bank is expected to cut interest rates by 50 basis points or more from 2.0 percent in an attempt to buffer the UK economy from a deep recession.

The dollar built momentum versus higher-yielding currencies as worries about the global economy slapped oil prices down some 12 percent on Wednesday, pushing commodity currencies like the Australian and New Zealand dollars lower.

This helped the U.S. currency recover some losses suffered in the previous session due to a disastrous reading of U.S. employment, but the dollar fell against the yen, which benefited from risk aversion as share prices in Asian and Europe fell.

Figures on Wednesday showed a 693,000 cut in U.S. private jobs in December, hitting home the view the U.S. economy is deteriorating fast with global reverberation.

“This is a risk aversion-type story as the yen is doing well and the dollar is doing ok too,” said Geoff Kendrick, senior currency strategist at UBS in London.

“But we may be getting close to a level of expectation where people become slightly too pessimistic. The ADP pushed people in terms of view on payrolls, but i wouldn’t be surprised if we saw -300,000 or -400,000 tomorrow,” he added.

By 1109 GMT, the dollar was up 0.3 percent against a currency basket to 82.419. Yen strength pushed the euro down 1.5 percent to 124.32 yen, while the dollar was down 1 percent at 91.60 yen.

The euro fell 0.4 percent to $1.3578, edging towards a three-week low around $1.33 hit earlier in the week.

Sterling was down 0.3 percent at $1.5069.

Selling in the euro picked up following figures showing an unprecedented 10.6 percent month-on-month fall in German exports in November as global demand for cars and other manufactured products have plummeted due to a global recession.

A series of weak euro zone economic data further fuelled the view that the recession is deepening, which may require faster interest rate cuts by the European Central Bank. The euro zone’s business climate declined much more than expected to an all-time low in December.

“This is yet another economic indicator that will strengthen the case for the ECB not to wait until February before cutting interest rates again,” said Audrey Childe-Freeman, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in London.

Commodities pressure

The dollar rallied roughly 1.5 percent against the Australian dollar to $0.7010. The Aussie sold off after a hefty fall in Australian building and trade data reinforced the case for more rate cuts in the country.

Commodity currencies have also come under selling pressure due to falling oil prices, which have taken a hit on the view that a slowing global economy will decrease demand for oil.

U.S. crude oil prices fell 0.5 percent to $42.38 per barrel, extending losses after dropping more than 12 percent in the previous session. This helped to push the New Zealand dollar down 1 percent to $0.5845.

High risk aversion was also reflected the bond market, which rallied despite damp demand for new issuance around the world, and pushed the two-year euro zone government bond yield to its lowest since the early 1970s, according to market participants.

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