* Abe says BOJ should consider maximising employment as
* BOJ's easing stance contrasts with no easing sign from ECB
* Dollar/yen up 0.2 pct, hit high of 89.04 yen
* Euro/dollar near 8 1/2-month peak after ECB
By Hideyuki Sano
TOKYO, Jan 11 The yen slid to 2 1/2-year lows on
Friday after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the Bank of
Japan should consider maximising employment as a policy goal on
top of its current price stability mandate.
Abe's comments, made in an interview with the Nikkei
newspaper published on Friday, put renewed pressure on the yen
as having a dual mandates, the U.S. Federal Reserve does, could
bind the BOJ to take more aggressive easing.
The dollar rose to as high as 89.04 yen, its highest
since July 2010 and last stood at 88.90 yen, up 0.2 percent from
late U.S. levels.
The dollar's gain accelerated after a break of the 88.50
option barrier triggered short-covering in thin early Wellington
"Short-term players who had earlier taken profits are now
re-entering. A rise above 90 is within sight now," said a trader
at a Japanese bank.
The euro also climbed to 118.13 yen, a high last
seen in May 2011, before giving up some of its gains to stand at
117.90 yen, 0.2 percent above late U.S. levels.
The yen has been tumbling since November on speculation of
more easing from the BOJ, with traders expecting the bank to
adopt an explicit two percent inflation target at its policy
meeting on Jan. 21-22.
The BOJ's deepening easing bias was in stark contrast to
other major central banks.
Minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's last policy meeting
published last week showed some officials at the bank are
concerned about potential side effects of stimulus.
And on Thursday, European Central Bank President Mario
Draghi gave no indication it would cut rates in the near future,
disappointing euro bears who had thought the ECB would be
inclined to cut rates to shore up the wobbly euro zone economy.
As a result the euro jumped 1.6 percent on Thursday, its
biggest daily gain in five months and held steady from late U.S.
levels at $1.3266.
The single currency is not far from 8 1/2-month peak of
$1.33085 hit last month.
The euro was also bolstered by solid demand at a sale of
mostly two-year Spanish debt, which caused Spain's benchmark
10-year bond yields to fall to a 10-month low.
Elsewhere, the Australian dollar clung near four-month high
hit on Thursday after strong Chinese trade data.
The Aussie unit fetched $1.0586, near Thursday's
high of $1.0599.