* Japan econmin Amari quoted as saying he was misinterpreted
* Focus on BOJ policy meeting on Jan. 21-22
* Some see risk of dollar/yen slipping after BOJ meeting
* But such a dip could be a chance to buy dlr/yen-analyst
* Aussie dollar falls on soft Australian jobs data
By Masayuki Kitano
SINGAPORE, Jan 17 The dollar edged higher
against the yen on Thursday after a media report quoted Japan's
economics minister as saying that his recent comments on the yen
had been misinterpreted.
The dollar edged up 0.3 percent against the yen to 88.61 yen
Traders said the yen slipped after Dow Jones newswires
quoted Japanese economics minister Akira Amari as saying it was
regrettable that his remarks on the yen on Tuesday had been
Amari had cautioned on Tuesday that excessive yen weakness
could have a negative impact on people's livelihoods through
rises in prices of imports, and his comments had triggered a
fall in the dollar against the yen.
"He (Amari) probably got an earful from people such as Abe,"
said a trader for a European bank in Tokyo, referring to
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Even accounting for the dollar's rise against the yen on
Thursday, the greenback is down 0.8 percent on the week, having
retreated since hitting a 2-1/2-year high of 89.67 yen on
Many market players think the yen's rebound this week is a
small correction in a long-term downtrend, which started late
last year on expectations that the Bank of Japan will be forced
to take bolder action to reflate a sluggish economy.
The BOJ is widely expected to adopt a 2 percent inflation
target at its policy meeting on Jan. 21-22. Some market players
say there could be selling in dollar/yen afterwards, based on
"buy the rumour, sell the fact."
"The BOJ will probably disappoint to some degree. They'll
deliver what the market expects but no more than that," said
Gareth Berry, G10 FX strategist for UBS in Singapore.
The dollar will probably fall against the yen if that turns
out to be the case, Berry said.
"But I'd see that as a (dollar) buying opportunity ahead of
the changing of the guard in April," he added.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has the
power to nominate a successor to BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa
when his term expires in April, although the nomination needs
approval by both houses of parliament.
Abe, who has piled pressure on the BOJ for bolder efforts to
beat deflation, has said he would like to choose someone who can
implement bold monetary policy to succeed Shirakawa.
The Australian dollar fell 0.5 percent to $1.0514
as a softer-than-expected jobs report kept alive the risk of an
interest rate cut in February.
Australian employment fell unexpectedly in December, nudging
the jobless rate up to 5.4 percent.
The euro edged up 0.1 percent to $1.3302, struggling
to regain its momentum even after a top European central banker
sounded relaxed about its recent run higher.
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny said on
Wednesday the exchange rate was "not a matter of major concern".
That contrasted with comments from Eurogroup Chairman
Jean-Claude Juncker that the euro was "dangerously high".