FOREX-Dollar stalls but rise to 100 yen seen inevitable

Tue Apr 9, 2013 4:32am EDT

Related Topics

* Dollar stalls just before 100 yen, euro before 130 yen

* Yen recovers after hitting near 4-year low versus dollar

* Yen falls seen temporary after aggressive BOJ easing

* Talk of dollar offers near 100 yen, stops and offers above

By Jessica Mortimer

LONDON, April 9 (Reuters) - The dollar stalled on Tuesday just shy of 100 yen after hitting a new four-year high but its rise against the Japanese currency appeared inexorable following aggressive easing measures by the Bank of Japan.

The dollar was last down 0.4 percent on the day at 98.98 yen , having earlier risen as far as 99.67 yen, its highest since May 2009.

Traders reported a large options barrier at 100 yen, which could mean the dollar initially struggles to vault this level.

Still, analysts said this was only a pause as traders took profits and it was a matter of time before the yen broke lower again.

"Dollar/yen has moved so quickly it is bound to have setbacks ahead of key levels, so I am not surprised it is not just flying through the 100 mark," said Niels Christensen, currency strategist at Nordea in Copenhagen.

"Investors have been quick to use any setback to put on new short yen positions so I don't think it will continue. Everything is pointing to a weaker yen and everyone is happy to go with the flow."

Traders also cited strong demand to take profit on dollar gains ahead of a level around 99.73 yen, the 50 percent retracement of the dollar's fall from the June 2007 peak of 124.14 yen to a record low of 75.311 yen set in October 2011.

While stop-loss dollar buying was likely to emerge if the U.S. currency rises above 100 yen, dollar offers were also lurking above that threshold.

Since BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda promised on Thursday to inject about $1.4 trillion into the economy in less than two years, the dollar has gained more than 7 percent against the yen while Japanese stocks have jumped.

The euro hit 129.935 yen on the EBS trading platform, its highest since January 2010, before stalling just before 130 yen. It last traded down 0.5 percent at 128.55 yen.

Traders said large stop-loss buy orders would be triggered if the euro broke through 130 yen.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday that the yen was undergoing a correction from previous "excessive" rises, though he stressed the country's monetary policy was aimed at beating deflation not weakening the yen.

"For USD/JPY, upside momentum remains strong and an eventual test of 100.00 seems in the cards," said Vassili Serebriakov, strategist at BNP Paribas.

"Markets are increasingly focused on the notion that larger JGB (Japanese government bond) purchases at longer maturities by the BOJ could push Japanese domestic long-term investors elsewhere."

A trader for a Japanese bank in Bangkok said the dollar could rise to about 110 yen this year, and about 105 yen in three months' time, though this was likely to be determined by the actions of Japanese institutional and retail investors.

EURO GAINS

The euro was up 0.1 percent at $1.3020, having hit a three-week high of $1.3068 earlier after stop-loss buying was triggered near $1.3050.

Analysts said the euro was helped by its strong rise against the yen and by the more positive sentiment sparked by gains in European equities. There was also a tendency to sell dollars against currencies other than the yen after Friday's weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs data.

Analysts said market participants not focusing on euro zone concerns in the wake of a bailout for Cyprus and political uncertainty in Italy.

Higher-yielding commodity currencies, which tend to benefit when equities rise, hit multi-year highs against the yen.

The Australian dollar hit its highest since July 2008 at 103.81 yen and the New Zealand dollar rose to its highest since February 2008 at 84.49 yen.

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