* Dollar within striking distance of 100 yen mark
* Fed policymakers eyed ending bond-buys this year - minutes
* Euro supported by talk of Japanese portfolio flows
By Wanfeng Zhou
NEW YORK, April 10 The dollar rose to a
four-year peak against the yen, within striking distance of the
key 100 mark, on Wednesday after minutes of the Federal
Reserve's March meeting reinforced expectations of an end to its
bond-buying sooner rather than later.
The Fed's stance stood in stark contrast to aggressive
monetary easing steps from the Bank of Japan last week when it
pledged to pump about $1.4 trillion into the economy in less
than two years in a bid to beat decades-long deflation.
A few Fed policymakers expected to taper the pace of asset
purchases by mid-year and end them later this year, while
several others expected to slow the pace a bit later and halt
the quantitative easing program by year-end, according to the
Fed minutes, which were released ahead of
"Once again, the minutes have sounded a slightly more
hawkish tone and that's really what's benefiting dollar/yen,"
said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign
Exchange in Washington.
The dollar rose to 99.72 yen on Reuters data,
matching the high set in May 2009. It was last at 99.62 yen, up
The yen recouped most losses after BoJ Governor Haruhiko
Kuroda said the bank took all necessary steps last week, but the
bounce was short-lived.
Kuroda also said the bank was resolved to keep printing
money for as long as needed to achieve 2 percent inflation,
signaling his readiness to offer further stimulus or maintain an
ultra-easy policy beyond two years if meeting the target by then
Traders said hefty options barriers around 100 yen could
slow the dollar's rise, but an eventual break above that level
"Around 100, people have a lot of barriers they try to
defend by selling. It makes sense we have stalled but we are
going to go through that level, it's just a matter of time,"
said Geoff Kendrick, currency strategist at Nomura.
Technical resistance lies at 99.73 yen, the 50 percent
retracement of the dollar's drop from its June 2007 high of
124.14 yen to a record low of 75.311 yen set in October 2011.
The euro rose 0.7 percent to 130.38 yen, having
risen as high as 130.50 yen on Reuters data, the strongest since
Against the dollar, the euro was little changed at $1.3082
, after hitting a one-month peak of $1.3121.
In recent days, the euro has been partly supported by market
speculation that Japanese investors looking for higher returns
may opt for euro zone assets. But those gains later faded.
The Australian dollar climbed to a 2-1/2 month high
of $1.0540 after data showing Chinese imports surged 14.1
percent on the year, beating market expectations.
It was last up 0.4 percent at $1.0524.