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Sat, Dec 25, 2004 - Page 12 News List

Greenback trades near record low levels against euro

BLOOMBERG

The US dollar traded near a record low against the euro and headed for its third consecutive year of losses against the yen.

The US currency yesterday weakened to US$1.35 per euro for the first time on concern foreign demand for US assets will wane. The move was exaggerated by holiday conditions, analysts said.

"The dollar blew past US$1.35 in a thin market," said Westpac Banking Corp's Robert Rennie, a senior currency strategist in Sydney. "The holidays are upon us and people want to get their work done and go home."

Against the euro, the dollar was at US$1.3493 at 2:30pm in Tokyo, from US$1.3515 late in New York yesterday, according to electronic foreign exchange trading system EBS. It was also at ¥103.70, from ¥103.59. The currency reached a record low of US$1.3517 versus the euro yesterday.

The dollar is down 6.7 percent against the euro and 3.3 percent versus the yen this year. Japan's currency is headed for its longest run of annual gains versus its US counterpart in a decade. The dollar may fall to US$1.40 per euro and below ¥100 in the first quarter of next year, Rennie said.

Japanese markets were closed yesterday, and the US has a holiday today. London's markets are closed Dec. 27 and 28.

The dollar's descent may accelerate if it were to exceed US$1.3517 per euro, a level where traders have pre-set orders to sell the currency, said Chris Melendez, president of Tempest Trading Technologies, a hedge fund in Newport Beach, California.

The dollar is headed for its 11th weekly loss of the last 12 weeks against the euro, and 12th drop in the past 13 weeks versus the yen.

The yen also may advance as the Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose for a fifth day, gaining as much as 1.4 percent, extending this year's climb to 6.3 percent and spurring speculation overseas investors will increase purchases of Japanese shares.

In other trading, the dollar hovered at 1.1432 Swiss francs, down 1.2 percent on the week. Against the British pound, it was at US$1.9216, from US$1.9236 on Thursday.

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