U.S. dollar widens gains vs yen, now up 1.5 percent

NEW YORK Thu Aug 1, 2013 10:46am EDT

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NEW YORK Aug 1 (Reuters) - The dollar posted sharp gains against the yen on Thursday, rising 1.5 percent, on upbeat data that showed the U.S. economy was steadily improving.

The U.S. currency hit a high of 99.39 yen, its strongest in about a week and up 1.5 percent. It was last at 99.24, on track for its largest daily gain since late May.

The dollar's rally was so strong it pierced through key technical levels - the 55- and 100-day moving averages.

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