FOREX-Dollar steady near one-week low vs yen, Ukraine caps upside

Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:44am EDT

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* Danish crown retreats from near three-month high (Updates prices, adds comments)

By Anirban Nag

LONDON, April 25 (Reuters) - The dollar was stuck near a one-week low versus the yen on Friday, struggling to gain traction as rising tensions in Ukraine offset optimism about U.S. economic growth.

The dollar last stood at 102.25 yen, not far from Thursday's one-week low of 102.085, at the end of a lacklustre week against the safe-haven yen during which it has lost about 0.1 percent.

"There has been a slight boost in risk aversion which is supporting the yen," Credit Agricole FX strategist Manuel Oliveri said.

"But geopolitical risks are not having too much of an impact on currencies with most investors still focussed on growth prospects. If risk sentiment improves, the yen will be sold off," he said.

Ukrainian forces killed up to five pro-Moscow rebels on Thursday as they closed in on the separatists' military stronghold in the east, and Russia launched army drills near the border in response, raising fears its troops would invade.

The yen showed limited reaction to Japan's consumer price data, with core CPI rising 2.7 percent in the Tokyo area, below economists' forecast of 2.8 percent.

As the impact of a consumption tax hike is estimated to have boosted the reading by 1.7 percentage points, the data suggested inflation has been essentially flat from March, when it rose 1.0 percent.

"The (CPI) data was a tiny miss and had no real effect," said Jeffrey Halley, FX trader for Saxo Capital Markets in Singapore. Halley said there were some dollar bids against the yen down towards the 102.00 yen level, adding that the dollar's top side might be capped near 102.60 yen.

Many investors expect Japan's inflation to ease later this year, prompting more policy easing from the Bank of Japan. The bank's governor Haruhiko Kuroda has said inflation is firmly on a path to reach its targeted 2.0 percent.

His view has weakened expectations of an immediate easing by the BOJ, helping to support the yen, and many investors are looking ahead to Wednesday's BOJ's economic outlook report.

Concerns over a wider conflict between the West and Russia overshadowed an otherwise brightening economic picture in the United States. March U.S. durable goods orders rose 2.6 percent, above economists' forecast for a 2 percent gain.

The euro held steady at $1.3835, having recovered from Thursday's low of $1.3791 hit after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi reiterated the potential for asset purchases to ward off deflation risks.

He warned that a rising euro could force the ECB's hand on monetary policy measures.

In the European session, volumes in euro/Danish crown trades picked up for a second straight day, according to Reuters Matching. The euro recovered from a near three-month low against the crown of 7.4614 to trade at 7.4630 crowns.

The crown had soared in robust volumes after the Danish central bank surprised the market by raising the rate on certificate of deposits by 0.15 percentage points on Thursday in a bid to stem outflows and support the currency. (Additional reporting by Masayuki Kitano in Singapore; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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