* Dollar/yen and euro/yen push higher after Aso’s comments
* Aussie firmer but on track for hefty weekly loss
* Global growth worries, slump in commodity prices weigh
By Masayuki Kitano
SINGAPORE, April 19 (Reuters) - The yen fell broadly on Friday after Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said Japan faced no G20 opposition to its stance that the Bank of Japan’s aggressive monetary stimulus is aimed at beating deflation.
The comments by Aso eased concerns that the bold monetary easing, which had triggered a drop in the yen to a four-year low versus the dollar last week, could come under criticism at the G20 meeting.
The dollar rose 0.4 percent on the day to 98.53 yen, while the euro gained 0.5 percent to 128.75 yen.
“The market had been rather nervous about the G20,” said a trader for a European bank in Tokyo, adding that such jitters had increased after the United States issued its semi-annual report on the currency practices of major trade partners last week.
In the report, the United States had put Japan on notice that it was watching its economic policies to ensure they were not aimed at devaluing the yen to gain a competitive advantage.
Still, a rapid move higher in the dollar versus the yen seems unlikely at this point, said the European bank trader, adding that strong gains in the greenback might only occur next week, after the G20 meeting is actually over.
Global policymakers are gathered in Washington for a Group of 20 nations meeting on Thursday and Friday. They are expected to confirm a February pledge to avoid competitive currency devaluations, officials have said.
The BOJ’s sweeping monetary stimulus unveiled earlier in April had triggered a tide of yen-selling that lifted the dollar to a four-year high of 99.95 yen last week.
The yen, however, has regained a bit of ground this week as renewed concerns about global growth prompted investors to trim bearish positions in the Japanese currency.
Among the biggest losers this week are commodity currencies such as the Australian dollar, which had been stung by worries about growth in China, Australia’s single biggest export market.
The Aussie edged up 0.1 percent to $1.0314. The Australian dollar, however, is down 1.8 percent so far this week, on track for its biggest weekly fall since October.
The outcome of the G20 is likely to be “relatively benign” and the yen seems set to weaken further in the next few months, said Callum Henderson, Singapore-based global head of FX research for Standard Chartered Bank.
“Our view remains that the yen will continue to fall. Our (dollar/yen) forecast for end-Q2 is 105,” Henderson said.
Japanese capital flows data shows that Japanese investors, rather than make a dash toward overseas assets this month, have instead been repatriating funds from abroad.
Still, analysts expect Japanese investors’ appetite for overseas assets to pick up eventually.
“I do think that given the BOJ’s aim of flattening the JGB curve...that Japanese longer term investors such as life insurers and pension funds will be forced to go abroad,” said Henderson at Standard Chartered Bank, referring to the yield curve for Japanese government bonds.
“When or if it does happen, clearly it’s going to be yen negative,” Henderson said.
To be sure, there are some foreign bond markets within the G10 and emerging markets where Japanese investors will probably get better yields than are available at home even if they fully hedge their currency risk, Henderson added.