17 May 2006, 11:31  Dollar near 8-mth low vs yen ahead of US prices data

The dollar was stung on Tuesday by tame U.S. producer prices and housing starts data for April. The Fed is pinning any further rises in its overnight rate, currently at 5 percent, to signs of more buoyancy in the economy and the threat of inflation. Economists in a Reuters poll expect the upcoming CPI data to show the core number edged up 0.2 percent last month. The dollar has seesawed this week, taking a cue from fluctuating prices for commodities such as gold, but most in the market forecast the dollar will keep falling on expectations that its rate advantage will narrow in coming months. The ECB is forecast to lift rates to 2.75 percent in June. And while market expectations have faded for the Bank of Japan to hike rates in June, the BOJ is widely forecast to boost rates from near zero during the July-September quarter. Gold prices recovered more than 2 percent to above $700 an ounce on Wednesday.

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