* Japan LDP's Abe reiterates calls for more BOJ easing
* Abe's opposition party leads in polls ahead of Dec vote
* Dollar hits 6-1/2 month high versus yen
By Masayuki Kitano
SINGAPORE, Nov 15 The yen hit a 6-1/2 month low
against the dollar on Thursday after the head of Japan's main
opposition party, who is the frontrunner in next month's
election, called for bold monetary easing by the Bank of Japan
to support growth.
Shinzo Abe, the head of the Liberal Democratic Party, said
he wants the BOJ to set interest rates at zero or below zero to
In addition, Abe said he wants to work with the BOJ to
reverse the trend of a stronger yen as it hurts the
competitiveness of small firms.
Abe's party leads in opinion polls, putting him in a pivotal
position to become the next premier after a general election to
be held next month.
The dollar rose to as high as 80.83 yen on trading
platform EBS, its highest level since late April, and last
traded at 80.78 yen, up 0.7 percent from late U.S. trade on
The yen came under renewed pressure due to Abe's latest
comments, said Jesper Bargmann, Asia head of G11 spot FX for RBS
Still, while the dollar seems likely to find good support at
levels near 79 yen, it is unclear whether the greenback is ready
to see a sustained push higher against the yen at this juncture,
"I'm not convinced yet. A sustained move higher in the
dollar may have to be on the back of a move higher in U.S.
yields," Bargmann said.
The euro climbed 0.7 percent against the yen to 102.90 yen
Against the dollar, the euro held steady at $1.2738,
having rebounded from Tuesday's two-month low of $1.2661, where
it found some technical support, including its 90-day average
and the Ichimoku cloud bottom.