* Yen hits highest since April 4 when BOJ announced easing
* Stocks slide, dollar index hits four-month low
* Traders unwind overextended long dollar positions
By Jessica Mortimer
LONDON, June 13 The yen jumped against the
dollar on Thursday to levels not seen since the Bank of Japan
unleashed aggressive stimulus in early April, as a slide in
stocks prompted investors to unwind bets it would weaken.
The yen rose more than 2 percent to hit 93.75 yen to
the dollar after Japan's Nikkei share index closed down
6.4 percent. Traders said the yen could rise towards the April 2
low of 92.57 yen in the near term.
The BOJ's measures had made it a one-way trade to buy
Japanese equities and sell the yen. But the Nikkei's recent
slide, on uncertainty over Federal Reserve stimulus, has led
foreign investors to unwind hedges taken out to benefit from
rising stocks and not be hurt by a weaker yen.
"This is a fast market and 92.60 (in dollar/yen) is a
possibility. But I expect we will see stabilising action by the
Japanese next week," said Hans Redeker, head of Global FX
strategy at Morgan Stanley.
Reflecting uncertainty about near-term direction, dollar/yen
one-month implied volatility jumped to its highest in
more than two years.
BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said financial markets would
calm down, reflecting positive developments in the Japanese
economy, and that the central bank would maintain its loose
In a bearish signal, the dollar fell below the base of its
daily Ichimoku cloud, a closely watched chart indicator. A close
below the cloud has not happened since mid-October, when the
dollar traded around 78 yen.
The yen's gains also reflect uncertainty that the aggressive
policies of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe can boost the
economy and stave off deflation partly via a weaker currency.
"We're basically back to where we started. It's impossible
for the BOJ to do more; in fact, they did too much at once in
the first place," said FPG Securities CEO Koji Fukaya in Tokyo.
The dollar fell broadly as investors slashed hefty bets on
gains in the U.S. currency, taken out on expectations the Fed
would soon scale back monetary easing. Such bets are close to
their highest since at least June 2008.
The dollar lost 0.3 percent against a basket of currencies
to a near four-month low of 80.50 and hit a four-month
low against the safe-haven Swiss franc of 0.91295 francs.
The euro hit a near four-month peak of $1.3390. But
traders reported offers at $1.3400 and the euro trimmed gains to
trade up 0.1 percent at $1.3355.
But the euro slid 2 percent to 125.49 yen,its
lowest since April 16 when it hit 125.00 yen, the trigger for
its rise to 133.82 on May 22, according to EBS data.