FOREX-Equity fall lifts yen to 10-week peak versus dollar

Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:31am EDT

Related Topics

* Yen hits highest since April 4 when BOJ announced easing

* Stocks slide, dollar index hits four-month low

* Traders unwind overextended long dollar positions

By Jessica Mortimer

LONDON, June 13 (Reuters) - The yen jumped against the dollar on Thursday to levels not seen since the Bank of Japan unleashed aggressive stimulus in early April, as a slide in stocks prompted investors to unwind bets it would weaken.

The yen rose more than 2 percent to hit 93.75 yen to the dollar after Japan's Nikkei share index closed down 6.4 percent. Traders said the yen could rise towards the April 2 low of 92.57 yen in the near term.

The BOJ's measures had made it a one-way trade to buy Japanese equities and sell the yen. But the Nikkei's recent slide, on uncertainty over Federal Reserve stimulus, has led foreign investors to unwind hedges taken out to benefit from rising stocks and not be hurt by a weaker yen.

"This is a fast market and 92.60 (in dollar/yen) is a possibility. But I expect we will see stabilising action by the Japanese next week," said Hans Redeker, head of Global FX strategy at Morgan Stanley.

Reflecting uncertainty about near-term direction, dollar/yen one-month implied volatility jumped to its highest in more than two years.

BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said financial markets would calm down, reflecting positive developments in the Japanese economy, and that the central bank would maintain its loose monetary policy.

In a bearish signal, the dollar fell below the base of its daily Ichimoku cloud, a closely watched chart indicator. A close below the cloud has not happened since mid-October, when the dollar traded around 78 yen.

The yen's gains also reflect uncertainty that the aggressive policies of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe can boost the economy and stave off deflation partly via a weaker currency.

"We're basically back to where we started. It's impossible for the BOJ to do more; in fact, they did too much at once in the first place," said FPG Securities CEO Koji Fukaya in Tokyo.

The dollar fell broadly as investors slashed hefty bets on gains in the U.S. currency, taken out on expectations the Fed would soon scale back monetary easing. Such bets are close to their highest since at least June 2008.

The dollar lost 0.3 percent against a basket of currencies to a near four-month low of 80.50 and hit a four-month low against the safe-haven Swiss franc of 0.91295 francs.

The euro hit a near four-month peak of $1.3390. But traders reported offers at $1.3400 and the euro trimmed gains to trade up 0.1 percent at $1.3355.

But the euro slid 2 percent to 125.49 yen,its lowest since April 16 when it hit 125.00 yen, the trigger for its rise to 133.82 on May 22, according to EBS data.

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