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Currencies (29.6.04)

28 June 2004 Angelo Coppola

The US currency came under pressure after US markets awakened to the surprise news that the handover of power to an interim Iraqi government had been brought forward by two days.

In late afternoon, the rand was quoted at R6,1750 to the dollar from Friday's R6,3150. But in earlier trade it powered to R6,1510 - a level it last saw on December 4 2003.

The rand was quoted at R7,5312 to the euro from a previous R7,6801 and at R11,3160 against sterling from Friday's R11,5190. The best level of the rand last year against the euro was R7,3943, touched on December 3.

In New York, the dollar was flat against the euro as traders interpreted inflation data as showing price pressures tame enough to confirm expectations that the Federal Reserve would take a measured approach in raising interest rates.

An increase in rates would boost yields on assets denominated in dollars and attract foreign capital, easing concerns over a widening US current account deficit, a broad measure of the nation's global trade.

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