May 10, 2013 / 12:10 AM / in 5 years

FOREX-Dollar steady at 4-year highs against yen after punching through 100

* Euro steady against yen after touching more than 3-year high

* Aussie skids, pressured after this week’s RBA cut

By Lisa Twaronite

TOKYO, May 10 (Reuters) - The dollar remained at a lofty perch against its Japanese counterpart on Friday, after breaking above the 100 yen level in the previous session for the first time since April 2009.

The dollar was buying 100.60 yen after rising as high as 100.79 yen on the EBS trading platform on Thursday, helped by signs of further improvement in the U.S. labour market and renewed debate by U.S. Federal Reserve officials about scaling back the central bank’s asset purchases.

“It was not so much the risk-on trade of selling the yen, but rather a case of broad-based dollar strength. That was what struck me as unusual,” said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.

“As you might expect, there seemed to be a tremendous amount of stops to sell the yen, should it reach 100, so the selling became aggravated,” he added.

The dollar index, which measures the U.S. unit against a basket of currencies, slipped 0.2 percent to 82.679, but still remained above a more than two-month low of 81.331 plumbed earlier this month.

Data on Thursday showed U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell to their lowest level since January 2008, suggesting the Fed is making progress in brightening the employment picture.

Some economists expect the central bank to reduce the $85 billion a month of bonds it now buys as unemployment approaches its 6.5 percent target. Fed officials debated the merits and timing of the central bank’s bond buying program on Thursday.

The euro was steady against the yen, with the common currency buying 131.11 yen after rising to a peak of 131.75 yen on Thursday, its highest since January 2010.

The euro was also steady against the greenback, buying $1.3036, after dropping to $1.3010 on EBS on Thursday, its lowest since April 29.

The European Central Bank cut its main rate to 0.5 percent last Thursday.

The Australian dollar licked its wounds, buying $1.0083, after having fallen as low as $1.0046, its weakest since late June.

The Aussie has been under pressure since Tuesday, when the Reserve Bank of Australia slashed interest rates to a record low.

The RBA will release a statement on monetary policy later on Friday.

A Reuters poll of 52 analysts published on Friday but taken before the Aussie’s slump put the unit at $1.0300 in one month, before edging to parity by this time next year.

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