* Yen hits lowest level since dollar since late April
* Some say yen looks oversold, may stabilise near-term
* But yen seen staying weak in the medium term
By Masayuki Kitano and Ian Chua
SINGAPORE/SYDNEY, Nov 19 The yen hit a
seven-month low against the dollar on Monday, hurt by
expectations that a new Japanese government will push the Bank
of Japan into taking aggressive monetary stimulus measures to
boost economic growth.
The dollar rose to as high as 81.59 yen on trading
platform EBS, its highest level since April 25, and last traded
at 81.23 yen, down 0.2 percent from late U.S. trade on Friday.
Investors have dumped the yen after the government set
elections for Dec. 16 and the leader of the opposition Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP), which is expected to win the poll,
called on the Bank of Japan to print "unlimited yen" and set
interest rates at zero or below to boost the economy.
Some market participants said the yen may find support after
last week's 2.4 percent drop against the dollar, the Japanese
currency's biggest weekly percentage drop in nine months. But,
analysts said the medium-term outlook remained fragile.
"We've travelled too far, too fast over the last week or
so," said Gareth Berry, a strategist for UBS in Singapore.
In the short term, the yen might regain some ground against
the dollar if the Bank of Japan refrains from announcing
additional monetary easing on Tuesday, Berry said. The BOJ holds
its policy meeting on Monday and Tuesday, but most analysts
doubt whether any major changes will be unveiled.
Sources familiar with the central bank's thinking have said
that the BOJ may push back any further monetary stimulus until
early next year in order to size up the policies of the new
Given the potential for more monetary easing later, analysts
said the yen could fall further over a longer-term horizon, such
as the next six months to a year.
"On a six-month view, dollar/yen higher is a great trade,"
said Berry at UBS.
BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa has strongly opposed pushing
interest rates down to zero, but his term ends in April, and the
government can choose his replacement.
If the opposition LDP wins the December election and its
leader Shinzo Abe becomes prime minister, Shirakawa could be
replaced by someone who is more dovish on monetary policy,
The euro edged up 0.1 percent to 103.71 yen.
Earlier, the single currency rose to as high as 104.15 yen, the
euro's highest level against the Japanese currency in about a
Against the dollar, the euro edged up 0.2 percent to $1.2767
The common currency found a floor at a two-month trough of
$1.2661 last week after suffering a 3.6 percent-slide from
mid-October on growing worries over Greece and the euro zone's
The euro's immediate fortunes hinge on whether euro zone
finance ministers can agree with the International Monetary Fund
on a stop-gap financing programme for Greece. The ministers are
due to meet on Tuesday.
"As the EU prepares a bundled aid package to avert a Greek
default, headlines coming out of the meeting may fuel a relief
rally in the euro, but we will maintain our bearish forecast for
the single currency as the region faces a deepening recession,"
said David Song, currency analyst at DailyFX.