* Euro under pressure after disappointing growth data
* Investors also await announcment of BOJ nominees
By Lisa Twaronite
TOKYO, Feb 15 The yen firmed against the euro
and dollar in Asian trading on Friday, as markets braced for
more conflicting comments on currencies as officials from the
Group of 20 nations gathered in Moscow.
Data showing the euro zone slipped deeper into recession
late last year pressured the single currency, and focused
investors' attention back on concerns about Europe's
"We get a lot of bluster heading into these G20 meetings,
and the end result always seems to that there's no unified view
here. There's going to disagreement, and I doubt there will be a
common view to come out on FX," said Mitul Kotecha, Hong
Kong-based head of global currency strategy at Credit Agricole.
"There will be attention back on the weak growth in some
areas, particularly like the euro zone," he said.
The euro slid 0.6 percent to 123.52 yen, off a
two-week low of 123.40 earlier in the session, having hit a
34-month high of 127.71 a week earlier.
The dollar fell 0.6 percent to 92.37 yen, taking out
weak support and stop-loss orders at 92.50 yen, with stronger
support seen at 92.00 yen. It moved away from a 33-month high
around 94.47 set on Monday.
Against the greenback, the euro slipped about 0.1 percent to
$1.3362, having hit a three-week low of $1.3315 on
Thursday. The euro was now well off a 13-month high of $1.3711
set early this month.
Immediate support for euro/dollar is seen around $1.3310, a
level representing the 38.2 percent retracement of its
Economic output in the 17-country euro zone fell 0.6 percent
in the fourth quarter, the steepest decline since the first
quarter of 2009 and more severe than the median forecast of a
0.4 percent drop in a Reuters poll.
Traders said the disappointing data could add pressure on
the European Central Bank to ease further. The report gave
investors an opportunity to take profits from the euro's gain of
as much as 4 percent on the dollar this year.
As the fundamental outlook for the region deteriorates, the
European Commission appears to be scaling back its push for
austerity measures in the region, said David Song, currency
analyst at DailyFX.
"In turn, the European Central Bank may have little choice
but to carry out its easing cycle throughout 2013, and the
Governing Council remains poised to push the benchmark interest
rate to a fresh record-low as the economic downturn threatens
price stability," he said.
Traders said a comment from European Central Bank Vice
President Vitor Constancio about the possibility of negative
deposit rates in the euro zone also weighed on the currency.
The pullback in the euro saw the dollar index briefly
hit a one-month high of 80.621 on Thursday, bringing into focus
this year's peak of 80.868 set on Jan. 4. The index was last at
Investors remained wary on the yen with the Bank of Japan
under intense political pressure to reflate the economy.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is close to selecting his
nominee for BOJ governor and a decision could come in the next
few days, sources close to the process told Reuters.
Abe has said he wants to choose a new BOJ governor who
shares his views that the central bank should pursue bolder
stimulus measures to end nearly two decades of deflation, a
stance which prompted the yen to shed about 20 percent against
the dollar since November.