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Friday May 15, 2009 - 09:32:37 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Yen jumps broadly; weak German data dents euro

Fri May 15, 2009 4:44am EDT

* Yen rises broadly, hits 2-month high vs dollar

* Weak German GDP data heightens risk aversion, dents euro

* Downside risks to euro zone Q1 GDP data at 0900 GMT

(Adds quotes, changes byline, dateline; previous TOKYO)

LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) - The yen rose broadly on Friday as much weaker-than-expected gross domestic product data out of Germany and various eastern European countries sparked renewed concerns about the depth of the global economic recession.

This drove investors to buy currencies perceived to be safer assets, with analysts saying the yen in particular is still seen by speculators as the funding currency of choice, helping it to a two-month high against the dollar.

The euro fell around 1 percent against the yen and also fell against the U.S. dollar following news that the German economy contracted a substantial 3.8 percent during the first quarter.

This was much steeper than the 3.0 percent fall predicted and easily the country's worst performance since reunification in 1990 [ID:nLF520964] and raised concerns that euro zone GDP figures due at 0900 GMT could come in worse than forecasts.

News of much worse-than-expected GDP figures out of countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary further stoked pessimism that the global economy is a long way from being out of the woods just yet.

"It is not just the German GDP figures, but lots of data out of eastern Europe were all below expectations and this is all weighing on appetite for risk," Commerzbank currency strategist in Frankfurt Lutz Karpowitz said.

"All this uncertainty is particularly good for the yen," he said, adding that the yen is tending to rise more in times of heightened risk aversion than the dollar at the moment.

Other analysts also noted a broader trend of Japanese investors turning towards their domestic bond markets, particularly as a fall in U.S. Treasury yields reduces their allure, which is lending support to the yen.

At 0827 GMT, the dollar fell 0.7 percent against the yen to 95.26 yen <JPY=>, having briefly touched a two-month low of 94.98 yen on the EBS trading platform to break below key support at 95 yen as well as the 100-day moving average of 95.14 yen.

The euro lost 1 percent against the yen to 129.41 yen <EURJPY=R> and 0.4 percent against the dollar to $1.3583 <EUR=>.

Among higher-yielders, the Australian dollar fell 0.4 percent against the U.S. dollar to $0.7564 <AUD=> and by 1 percent against the yen to 72.05 yen <AUDJPY=R>.

Also on the market's radar on Friday are euro zone inflation figures at 0900 GMT, followed by U.S. inflation data at 1230 GMT and U.S. portfolio flows data at 1300 GMT.

Elsewhere, the New Zealand dollar <NZD=D4> fell, dropping 1.1 percent against the dollar to $0.5899 <NZD=D4> and tumbling by 1.5 percent against the yen to 56.30 yen <NZDJPY=>.

The falls followed comments from the International Monetary Fund that New Zealand may have to ease monetary policy further and weak first-quarter retail sales figures. [ID:nWEL383594] [ID:nN14505596].

The New Zealand dollar broke above its 200-day moving average last week and hit a six-month high of $0.6127 this week, just short of a 38.2 percent retracement of its fall to its March 2009 low from its March 2008 high that lies near $0.6163.

The kiwi's dip below its five-day moving average this week and the fact that its 200-day moving average is trending downwards suggest that the kiwi may ease in the near term, said Masashi Hashimoto, senior analyst for Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in Tokyo.

(Reporting by Jessica Mortimer; Additional reporting by Charlotte Cooper in Tokyo; Editing by Victoria Main)

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