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Wednesday September 2, 2009 - 10:36:26 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Yen rallies, hits 7-week high vs dollar, euro

Wed Sep 2, 2009 6:31am EDT

* Yen rallies broadly, hits 7-week high vs dollar, euro

* European shares fall 1 pct, risk aversion continues

* EZ Q2 GDP shrugged off, U.S. jobs, FOMC minutes awaited

(Adds comment, details, updates prices)

By Naomi Tajitsu

LONDON, Sept 2 (Reuters) - The yen rallied broadly on Wednesday, hitting a seven-week high against the dollar and other major rivals as falling share prices stoked more risk aversion ahead of a raft of U.S. economic data later in the day.

At the same time, a broad climb in the Australian dollar bucked the day's risk-selling move after surprisingly strong economic growth data for Australia suggested that interest rates in the country may rise soon.

An overall chill in risk demand kept the euro near a two-week low against the dollar, with the single currency brushing off figures confirming a 0.1 percent quarterly contraction in the euro zone economy in April-June. Traders awaited data on U.S. jobs, factory orders and productivity, and minutes from the Federal Reserve's policy meeting last month, to see whether the U.S. economy continues to improve before cranking up risk demand.

"We are constructive on data, we are constructive on risk as well but price action short-term tells us that the market is already positioned for a recovery," said Carl Hammer, currency strategist at SEB in Stockholm.

"We need some more consolidation in the coming days before moving higher in terms of risk appetite."

The dollar JPY= fell 0.5 percent to 92.38 yen according to electronic trading platform EBS, its lowest since mid-July.

The yen rose against other currencies considered to be higher risk, also hitting seven-week highs against the euro EURJPY=R and sterling GBPJPY=R.

The latest rally in the safe-haven yen coincided with a jump in the U.S. CBOE Volatility Index .VIX measure of risk aversion, which on Wednesday hit 29.23, its highest since mid-July.

European shares fell 0.1 percent, tracking a slide in many Asian stock markets after lingering concerns about the health of U.S. banks stung U.S. stock futures.

Traders in Tokyo said yen gains were being driven by short-term speculators building long yen positions ahead of U.S. non-farm payrolls on Friday. They noted a risk that a weak reading may drive the dollar/yen down to the 90 yen mark.

The euro EUR= was flat at $1.4220, stuck near $1.4177 touched on Tuesday, its lowest since Aug. 19.


The Australian dollar AUD=D4 rose 0.7 percent to $0.8315 after data showed the Australian economy grew by 0.6 percent on the quarter and the year in April-June, exceeding forecasts. [ID:nSYD536295]

The Aussie AUDJPY=R rose as high as 77.59 yen against the Japanese currency before trimming some gains. Still, it stayed above 74.30 yen hit in early trade its lowest since late July.

Strong U.S. data has stung the dollar in past months on the logic that a stronger U.S. economy helps to boost risk demand.

But ahead of the raft of U.S. data this week culminating with non-farm payrolls, some analysts said more aggressive signs of recovery may boost the dollar, as would Fed minutes showing that central bank policymakers are actively planning an exit from quantitative easing.

"If we get better U.S. data and/or some acknowledgement from the Fed that conditions aren't warranting a continuation of asset purchases, that may well be something that could give the dollar some traction," said Jeremy Stretch, currency analyst at Rabobank in London. (Additional reporting by Tokyo Forex Team, editing by Andy Bruce)

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