FOREX-Yen firms as market awaits currency signals from G20

Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:19pm EST

Related Topics

* Euro under pressure after disappointing growth data

* Investors also await announcment of BOJ nominees

By Lisa Twaronite

TOKYO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - The yen firmed against the euro and dollar in Asian trading on Friday, as markets braced for more conflicting comments on currencies as officials from the Group of 20 nations gathered in Moscow.

Data showing the euro zone slipped deeper into recession late last year pressured the single currency, and focused investors' attention back on concerns about Europe's fundamentals.

"We get a lot of bluster heading into these G20 meetings, and the end result always seems to that there's no unified view here. There's going to disagreement, and I doubt there will be a common view to come out on FX," said Mitul Kotecha, Hong Kong-based head of global currency strategy at Credit Agricole.

"There will be attention back on the weak growth in some areas, particularly like the euro zone," he said.

The euro slid 0.6 percent to 123.52 yen, off a two-week low of 123.40 earlier in the session, having hit a 34-month high of 127.71 a week earlier.

The dollar fell 0.6 percent to 92.37 yen, taking out weak support and stop-loss orders at 92.50 yen, with stronger support seen at 92.00 yen. It moved away from a 33-month high around 94.47 set on Monday.

Against the greenback, the euro slipped about 0.1 percent to $1.3362, having hit a three-week low of $1.3315 on Thursday. The euro was now well off a 13-month high of $1.3711 set early this month.

Immediate support for euro/dollar is seen around $1.3310, a level representing the 38.2 percent retracement of its November-February rally.

Economic output in the 17-country euro zone fell 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter, the steepest decline since the first quarter of 2009 and more severe than the median forecast of a 0.4 percent drop in a Reuters poll.

Traders said the disappointing data could add pressure on the European Central Bank to ease further. The report gave investors an opportunity to take profits from the euro's gain of as much as 4 percent on the dollar this year.

As the fundamental outlook for the region deteriorates, the European Commission appears to be scaling back its push for austerity measures in the region, said David Song, currency analyst at DailyFX.

"In turn, the European Central Bank may have little choice but to carry out its easing cycle throughout 2013, and the Governing Council remains poised to push the benchmark interest rate to a fresh record-low as the economic downturn threatens price stability," he said.

Traders said a comment from European Central Bank Vice President Vitor Constancio about the possibility of negative deposit rates in the euro zone also weighed on the currency.

The pullback in the euro saw the dollar index briefly hit a one-month high of 80.621 on Thursday, bringing into focus this year's peak of 80.868 set on Jan. 4. The index was last at 80.306.

Investors remained wary on the yen with the Bank of Japan under intense political pressure to reflate the economy.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is close to selecting his nominee for BOJ governor and a decision could come in the next few days, sources close to the process told Reuters.

Abe has said he wants to choose a new BOJ governor who shares his views that the central bank should pursue bolder stimulus measures to end nearly two decades of deflation, a stance which prompted the yen to shed about 20 percent against the dollar since November.

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