FOREX-Yen edges up vs dollar; kiwi slides on RBNZ comments

Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:57pm EST

Related Topics

* Japan delays naming next BOJ governor, friction seen

* Markets have heard the talk, now want to see BOJ action

* Euro rises in the wake of upbeat German ZEW survey

* RBNZ Governor says NZ dollar is significantly overvalued

By Masayuki Kitano

SINGAPORE, Feb 20 (Reuters) - The yen edged higher versus the dollar on Wednesday due to uncertainty over how aggressively Japan will ease monetary policy following signs of a rift among Japanese officials over the strategy.

Market players said the yen's recent decline may slow in the near term, due partly to doubts whether an idea will be adopted for the Bank of Japan to buy foreign bonds to provide monetary stimulus.

In addition, analysts said Japanese policymakers may become more cautious when talking about the yen, following a meeting of G20 policymakers in Moscow at the weekend.

"I think the pace of yen depreciation will slow," said Sim Moh Siong, FX strategist for Bank of Singapore.

"In light of the G20 statement to avoid competitive devaluation, it will be difficult to talk down the yen specifically. I think the onus now is on policy to do the work," he added.

While the G20 meeting had not singled out Tokyo as manipulating currencies to gain a competitive edge, the G20 also said its members would refrain from competitive devaluation.

The dollar slipped 0.1 percent to 93.55 yen, staying below a 33-month high of 94.465 yen set on Feb. 11 on trading platform EBS.

"I think there will be some range trading for a while," said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore, adding that the dollar hold between 92.50 and 95.50 yen over the next couple of weeks.

The greenback had firmed against the yen earlier in the week after Japan escaped direct criticism from its G20 peers on its bold relfationary plans.

But the dollar faltered versus the yen on Tuesday after Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said he was not considering buying foreign bonds as part of efforts to ease monetary policy. Aso's comments had come a day after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said this was an option.

Market players are also waiting for more clarity on the government's choice for the next Bank of Japan governor to replace Masaaki Shirakawa.

A delay in nominating a new BOJ governor has fanned talk of friction between Japan's prime minister and finance minister over who should run a central bank charged with taking aggressive action to beat deflation.

The prime minister earlier had been expected to make a nomination this week, but Economics Minister Akira Amari said on Tuesday the government would not nominate a governor until after Abe returns from a trip to the United States on Feb. 21-24.

EURO RISES; KIWI SLIDES

The euro rose 0.2 percent to $1.3413, gaining a boost after data on Tuesday showed a strong improvement in German economic sentiment.

The ZEW index rose to its highest since April 2010, beating even the highest forecast in a Reuters poll.

Against the yen, the euro edged up 0.1 percent to 125.39 yen . The single currency had climbed to 127.71 yen on Feb. 6, its strongest level versus the Japanese currency since April 2010.

The New Zealand dollar slid 0.8 percent to $0.8404 after Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) Governor Graeme Wheeler said the New Zealand dollar was significantly overvalued compared to its economic fundamentals.

Wheeler also said RBNZ was ready to intervene in FX markets when circumstances were right.

The kiwi had climbed to $0.8534 on Friday, its strongest level since September 2011.

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A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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