September 2, 2013 / 4:42 AM / 4 years ago

Yen on the backfoot as PMI cheers, Aussie eyes RBA

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The safe-haven yen started Asian trade at one-month lows against the dollar on Tuesday, having fallen broadly as fresh signs of a pickup in global manufacturing activity helped lift risk appetite.

The market had already started to unwind much of last week’s safe-haven trades as worries about an imminent military strike against Syria eased after U.S. President Barack Obama decided to seek congressional approval.

The dollar bought 99.33 yen, having gained more than 1 percent on Monday to a high around 99.43, a level not seen since August 2. The euro also climbed around 1 percent to reach a one-week high near 131.40 yen, pulling well away from last week’s trough of 129.31.

The moves came amid a U.S. market holiday on Monday and following surveys that showed robust growth in European factories and a rebound in China manufacturing activity. The reports lifted prospects for broad-based global recovery on the back of a U.S. revival.

“The overnight session was dominated by manufacturing PMI releases in most countries and the data highlighted the positive economic data momentum in developed markets and negative momentum in emerging markets Asia excluding China,” JPMorgan analysts wrote in a research note to clients.

“The latest data is supportive of our underweight in emerging markets FX, which we like to express via longs in USD/TRY, USD/IDR, USD/MYR, USD/ZAR and USD/CLP,” the analysts wrote.

Despite the encouraging PMI surveys in Europe, the euro was pinned near Friday’s one-month low of $1.3173. It last stood at $1.3193, still flirting with the 38.2 percent retracement level of its July 9-August 20 rally.

A picture illustration shows U.S. 100 dollar bank notes taken in Tokyo August 2, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

That helped keep the dollar index .DXY move to 82.311, near a one-month high.

Investors also picked up commodity currencies like the Australian and New Zealand dollar, helping the Aussie reclaim 90 U.S. cents. Still, it remained not far off a three-year trough around $0.8848 plumbed last month.

The Aussie’s near-term focus is an interest rate decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia due at 00:30 a.m. ET.

All 23 economists polled by Reuters expect the RBA to leave its cash rate unchanged at a record low 2.5 percent and investors are keen to see if the central bank will signal a clear easing bias.

Debt markets are priced for no policy action.

“We expect the statement to strike a neutral tone and indicate that the RBA has reached the trough of its cutting cycle,” BNP Paribas FX strategists wrote in a note.

“Hence, while the two-year Australia interest rate swap has move 25 basis points higher during August, there appears scope for it to move higher still and support AUD/USD.”

Editing by G Crosse

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