FOREX- Dollar tops 102 yen after G7, highest in 4-1/2 years

Sun May 12, 2013 8:53pm EDT

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By Sophie Knight

TOKYO, May 13 (Reuters) - The yen resumed its slide on Monday against the dollar and euro after Japan escaped direct criticism of its aggressive monetary easing programme at the Group of seven meeting over the weekend, giving investors a green light to continue selling the currency.

The dollar last bought 101.81 yen, up 0.2 percent from late Friday levels in the U.S., after breaking through a reported options barrier at 102 yen to reach 102.15 in early Asian trade, its highest level since October 2008.

"There is a feeling of 'at last!' when it passed 100 among investors who have been selling yen for the last month," said Bart Wakabayashi, head of forex at State Street.

"Some people see 95 as the base of this trading range but it is possible 100 could become the bottom from here."

As at previous international meetings, Japan escaped any censure at the G7 meeting for printing money on a scale that has pushed the yen sharply lower. Britain's finance minister George Osborne said that the G7's pledge to not target exchange rates had been adhered to.

The dollar's breach of the psychologically important 100 yen level last week was attributed to signs of an improving U.S. economic landscape, though evidence that Japanese investors are buying more foreign assets accelerated the yen's plunge.

The Japanese currency has lost 10 percent against the U.S. currency since the Bank of Japan announced a sweeping monetary expansion campaign on April 4, and has slid 27 percent since mid-November.

The euro was steady at 132.28 yen after scaling 132.39 yen, its highest since January 2010. Against the broadly strong dollar, the common currency dipped 0.1 percent to 1.2973, close to a one-month low of $1.2935 hit on Friday.

The Australian dollar sagged 0.3 percent on Monday to $0.9986 after falling below parity on Friday to $0.9961, its lowest since June 2012.

State Street's Wakabayashi said the Reserve Bank of Australia's surprise rate cut last week and lowering of its inflation forecast had somewhat knocked the shine off the currency.

"The most attractive thing about the Aussie was the yield spread, so if that narrows it is obviously less desirable," he said.

"Some people feel quite uncomfortable with it being above $1 and prefer to see its range as $0.80-$1," Wakabayashi added.

The Kiwi was also off, losing 0.4 percent to $0.8273 and hanging near a two-month low tapped in the previous session after an admission of currency intervention from the central bank spooked investors last week.

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