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FOREX-Yen falls broadly as Japanese stocks jump on Olympics euphoria
September 9, 2013 / 8:13 AM / in 4 years

FOREX-Yen falls broadly as Japanese stocks jump on Olympics euphoria

* Nikkei jumps 2.5 pct, lends support to dollar/yen

* Australian dollar helped by Chinese data

* Possible strike on Syria supports safe-haven currencies

By Anirban Nag

LONDON, Sept 9 (Reuters) - The yen fell against the dollar and the euro on Monday, losing ground after Japanese stocks rallied following Tokyo’s winning bid to host the 2020 Olympics and an upgrade of second-quarter GDP.

The Olympics win could translate into big gains for the Japanese economy and a shot in the arm for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who is attempting to reflate the economy after decades of below-par growth and deflation.

The Tokyo bid committee reckons hosting the Olympics would boost the economy - from construction and higher prices - by 3 trillion yen ($30.14 bln) over the next seven years. .

This boosted the Nikkei, which jumped to a five-week high and since the yen has an inverse correlation with Tokyo shares, the currency dipped. A sharp upward revision of second-quarter Japanese gross domestic product also lifted stocks.

The dollar rose 0.4 percent on the day to 99.55 yen having hit a high of 100.11 yen earlier on Monday. The euro rose 0.5 percent to 131.25 yen.

Both the dollar and the euro have gained more than 14 percent this year against the yen as the Bank of Japan embarked on a massive monetary stimulus programme in April to boost the export-driven economy.

“The Olympics bid has added a bit more to the underlying negative yen trend,” said Paul Robson, currency strategist at RBS Global Banking.

But investors will be wary about selling the yen, or the Swiss franc, in a big way given concerns of a possible U.S.-led military strike against Syria. Both currencies are seen as safe havens during times of crisis. The White House on Sunday pressed ahead with the uphill effort of persuading Congress to approve a military strike.

FED TAPERING ON TRACK

Against the yen, the dollar recovered to around levels seen before Friday’s weaker-than-forecast U.S. jobs numbers, which raised questions about whether the Federal Reserve will begin to scale back its massive stimulus programme next week.

However, comments by two Federal Reserve officials suggested stimulus unwinding was still on track.

That gave investors confidence to buy the dollar which has been underpinned by elevated U.S. bond yields, traders said.

“If the decision comes out in favour of tapering, then it will be a pretty strong boost to the U.S. dollar,” said Gareth Berry, Singapore-based G10 FX strategist for UBS, referring to the Fed’s policy meeting on Sept. 17-18.

The euro was flat at $1.3175, taking a breather after Friday’s 0.5 percent gain. Investors were keeping a nervous eye on Rome where the Italian Senate is set to begin a debate on whether to expel former premier Silvio Berlusconi from parliament. A decision to expel him could threaten the country’s ruling coalition.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar touched a three-week high at around $0.9222, benefiting from Chinese trade data that added to evidence that the world’s second-biggest economy may have avoided a sharp slowdown. China is Australia’s single biggest export market.

The Aussie last stood at $0.9205, up 0.2 percent. It barely reacted to Saturday’s national election result, which saw the conservative Liberal-National Party coalition swept into power, as that had been expected.

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