FOREX-Yen eases on month-end flows but off 7-1/2-mth low

Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:10am EST

Related Topics

* Traders say yen falls due to month-end yen selling, stop-losses

* Yen fall curbed by concern on U.S. fiscal cliff, economy

* BOJ speculation also pared back ahead of election

* Boehner's comments dent budding hopes of U.S. budget deal

* Euro supported by fall in Spanish, Italian bond yields

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The yen dropped on Friday after month-end selling from Japanese firms triggered more stop-loss selling, but concerns about the deadlock over the U.S. "fiscal cliff" helped to keep it above last week's 7-1/2-month low versus the dollar.

The euro stayed near a one-month high against the dollar and hit a seven-month high against the yen, helped by falling Italian and Spanish bonds yields.

The dollar rose 0.3 percent to 82.36 yen, edging closer to last week's peak of 82.84 yen.

The dollar was up more than 3 percent this month due to speculation that the Bank of Japan will come under intense political pressure to ease monetary policy aggressively if the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) wins an election for the lower house on Dec. 16.

The euro also rose to seven-month high of 107.29 yen and last stood at 107.13 yen, about 0.6 percent above the late U.S. levels.

The market showed little reaction to comments from LDP leader Shinzo Abe that some traders regarded as a softening of his earlier calls on the BOJ to take radical steps to ease policy.

"Abe seems to be toning down a bit. For now it's hard to expect him to say something that would further boost speculation of more easing," said Barclay's Yamamoto.

The yen's fall on Friday, according to Tokyo-based traders, was due to month-end selling by Japanese companies that triggered some stop-loss selling.

While many market players see the yen beginning a long-term downtrend due to the country's trade deficit and chances of more BOJ easing, in the near term the trend could be slowed by concerns over the political impasse between Democrats and Republicans in Washington over how to avert the "fiscal cliff".

"If there is no progress in the U.S. debt talks, the dollar is likely to fall below 82 yen next week," said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief FX strategist at Barclays in Tokyo, noting recent U.S. economic data had not been as solid as before.

U.S. economic growth in July-Sept was revised up to 2.7 percent on Thursday from the initial reading of 2.0 percent growth, but the revision was boosted by restocking by businesses, while consumer and business spending, more direct gauges of the economy, were revised lower.

JAPAN ELECTION

While opinion polls show Abe is likely to emerge as Japan's next prime minister, some of his ideas for radical easing did not appear in the LDP party manifesto, having already drawn criticism from other policymakers and some business leaders.

"I think the Abe story has gone a bit too far," said Yunosuke Ikeda, senior currency analyst at Nomura Securities. "Support for Abe may not grow much. And if he does not have a sweeping victory, investors will have to review their scenario."

The euro stood near one-month high of $1.3015 hit on Thursday, changing hands at $1.2995, up slightly from late New York levels.

The euro has also been helped by fall in Spanish and Italian bond yields in recent weeks, as well as relief after Greece's international lenders agreed on an aid deal for Athens earlier this week.

The 10-year Italian bond yield hit a two-year low on Thursday, while its Spanish peer fell to its lowest level since March.

An unexpected improvement in the euro zone's business mood published on Thursday also bolstered the euro, though market players think the euro zone economy, already in recession, will continue to struggle.

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