FOREX-Yen slips on report of Japan econ minister's comment

Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:16am EST

Related Topics

* Japan econmin Amari quoted as saying he was misinterpreted

* Focus on BOJ policy meeting on Jan. 21-22

* Some see risk of dollar/yen slipping after BOJ meeting

* But such a dip could be a chance to buy dlr/yen-analyst

* Aussie dollar falls on soft Australian jobs data

By Masayuki Kitano

SINGAPORE, Jan 17 (Reuters) - The dollar edged higher against the yen on Thursday after a media report quoted Japan's economics minister as saying that his recent comments on the yen had been misinterpreted.

The dollar edged up 0.3 percent against the yen to 88.61 yen .

Traders said the yen slipped after Dow Jones newswires quoted Japanese economics minister Akira Amari as saying it was regrettable that his remarks on the yen on Tuesday had been misinterpreted.

Amari had cautioned on Tuesday that excessive yen weakness could have a negative impact on people's livelihoods through rises in prices of imports, and his comments had triggered a fall in the dollar against the yen.

"He (Amari) probably got an earful from people such as Abe," said a trader for a European bank in Tokyo, referring to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Even accounting for the dollar's rise against the yen on Thursday, the greenback is down 0.8 percent on the week, having retreated since hitting a 2-1/2-year high of 89.67 yen on Monday.

Many market players think the yen's rebound this week is a small correction in a long-term downtrend, which started late last year on expectations that the Bank of Japan will be forced to take bolder action to reflate a sluggish economy.

The BOJ is widely expected to adopt a 2 percent inflation target at its policy meeting on Jan. 21-22. Some market players say there could be selling in dollar/yen afterwards, based on "buy the rumour, sell the fact."

"The BOJ will probably disappoint to some degree. They'll deliver what the market expects but no more than that," said Gareth Berry, G10 FX strategist for UBS in Singapore.

The dollar will probably fall against the yen if that turns out to be the case, Berry said.

"But I'd see that as a (dollar) buying opportunity ahead of the changing of the guard in April," he added.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has the power to nominate a successor to BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa when his term expires in April, although the nomination needs approval by both houses of parliament.

Abe, who has piled pressure on the BOJ for bolder efforts to beat deflation, has said he would like to choose someone who can implement bold monetary policy to succeed Shirakawa.

The Australian dollar fell 0.5 percent to $1.0514 as a softer-than-expected jobs report kept alive the risk of an interest rate cut in February.

Australian employment fell unexpectedly in December, nudging the jobless rate up to 5.4 percent.

The euro edged up 0.1 percent to $1.3302, struggling to regain its momentum even after a top European central banker sounded relaxed about its recent run higher.

European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny said on Wednesday the exchange rate was "not a matter of major concern". That contrasted with comments from Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker that the euro was "dangerously high".

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