* Uninspired start to trading after uneventful weekend
* Euro holds near four-year highs vs yen
* Dollar index nurses losses, bound to taper view
By Ian Chua
SYDNEY, Nov 18 Major currencies got off to a
subdued start in Asia on Monday after an uneventful weekend,
with the yen pinned near a four-year trough on the euro as
investors preferred to use the low yielding currency to fund
Data on Friday showed currency speculators turned even more
negative on the yen in the week ended Nov. 12, having held net
short positions in the Japanese currency since late October.
"Short positioning has become more extreme during four of
the last five weeks, and is now just marginally above the
seven-year low," analysts at JPMorgan wrote in a note to
The euro bought 135.26 yen not far from the Oct
22 peak of 135.52, a high not seen since November 2009. The
dollar traded at 100.22 yen, near a two-month high of
100.43 set on Friday.
Compared with the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve,
the Bank of Japan is the most aggressive in providing monetary
stimulus as it works to pull the world's third-biggest economy
from two decades of stagnation. The BOJ holds its policy meeting
later this week and is expected to maintain its ultra-loose
"Our baseline remains that it will be forced to ease further
in April 2014, as we expect inflation to undershoot its
ambitious forecast by then," Barclays Capital analysts said.
Markets will also be keeping an eye on minutes of the Fed's
Oct 29-30 meeting due Wednesday and a string of speeches from
Fed officials including Chairman Ben Bernanke, who is due to
speak on "Communication and Monetary Policy" on Tuesday.
Dovish comments last week from Fed Chairman-nominee Janet
Yellen have gone some way to assure markets there will be no
imminent decision to scale back the Fed's massive bond-buying
Still, investors are keeping a close eye on upcoming U.S.
data to gauge the timing of any tapering. Key this week include
retail sales on Wednesday.
Uncertainty about when the Fed will move has unsettled the
dollar, allowing the euro to rally nearly 1 percent last week
and recoup some of the steep losses suffered in the previous two
weeks. It last traded at $1.3492, near late New York
levels on Friday.
That, in turn, brought the dollar index back down to
80.817, near the bottom-end of last week's 81.732 and 81.464
In Australia, minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia's
(RBA) Nov 5 policy meeting are due on Tuesday, when the central
bank left interest rates steady at a record low 2.5 percent as
While the RBA has left the door open to more interest rate
cuts, it is reluctant to ease further given there is already
plenty of monetary stimulus in the economy.
Instead it is hoping for the currency to weaken in order to
provide more support to the export-side of the economy and spur
a broader recovery.
The Australian dollar last stood at $0.9375, having
fallen nearly 4 percent since Oct 23, when it scaled a peak of