Dollar pulls back as US consumer confidence tumbles

NEW YORK, March 25, 2008 (AFP) – The dollar weakened on foreign exchange markets Tuesday as a gauge that tracks US consumer confidence dived to a five-year low amid mounting economic uncertainty.

Traders said a monthly survey by the Conference Board, a private research group, showed its consumer confidence index falling to 64.5 points in March compared with 76.4 in the prior month.

The single European currency was changing hands at 1.5647 dollars around 2100 GMT, up from 1.5422 dollars in New York on late Monday.

The US currency had meanwhile fallen to 99.98 yen from 100.73 yen a day earlier and also showed declines against other major currencies.

Analysts said the dollar weakened as traders bid up the prospect of fresh US interest rate cuts in the wake of bleaker economic readings.

The decline in the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index was worse than expected and was digested by the markets as a separate report showed that home prices had slumped 10.7 percent from a year ago in major US cities.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 major cities showed steep declines in the respective markets, especially in cities were prices had rock