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Thursday September 3, 2009 - 00:14:15 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Yen rises to seven-week high vs dollar

Wed Sep 2, 2009 4:28pm EDT

* Yen rises broadly, hits 7-week high against dollar

* Risk aversion continues on uncertainty about economy

* U.S. private sector sheds 298,000 jobs in August (Adds details, updates prices)

By Nick Olivari

NEW YORK, Sept 2 (Reuters) - The yen touched a seven-week high against the dollar amid gains across the board on Wednesday, as a worse-than-expected U.S. private-sector jobs report boosted the safe-haven appeal of the Japanese currency.

The yen also jumped to seven-week highs against the euro and sterling as the data, which came two days ahead of the U.S. government's August unemployment report, added to uncertainty about the U.S. labor market and helped prolong risk aversion.

"The outlook for nonfarm payrolls is not clear. There's hesitancy in the currency market and it's being reflected in equities as well," said Kathy Lien, director of currency research at GFT Forex in New York.

Private employers cut 298,000 jobs in August, according to the ADP Employer Services report, jointly developed with Macroeconomic Advisers LLC. Economists had expected job losses of 250,000, although the number was fewer than a revised 360,000 lost in July. For related news click [ID:nN02321193].

In late afternoon New York trading, the dollar fell 0.8 percent to 92.14 yen JPY= after hitting a low of 92.07, according to Reuters data, its lowest since mid-July.

The yen was up 0.9 percent against the Canadian dollar JPYCAD=R, 0.3 percent against the Swiss franc JPYCHF=R, 0.5 percent against the euro JPYEUR=R and 0.2 percent against the pound JPYGBP=R.

The dollar index, valuing the U.S. currency against a basket of other major units, was last down 0.5 percent at 78.391 .DXY.

ECB, PAYROLLS

Against the dollar, the euro recouped earlier losses and last traded up 0.3 percent at $1.4264 EUR=. It touched $1.4175 on Tuesday, the lowest since Aug. 19.

The European Central Bank is widely expected to keep interest rates at 1.0 percent on Thursday, with ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet likely to caution against growing talk of a full-blown euro zone economic recovery.

On Friday, the U.S. government will release the nonfarm payrolls report for August, which includes public and private sector jobs. Economists polled by Reuters expect job losses of 225,000 for August. ECON

Some traders said yen gains were being driven by short-term speculators building long yen positions ahead of the Labor Department report. A weak reading may drive the dollar/yen down to the 90 yen mark, they said.

"The trend is improving, but the bottom line, though, is that the U.S. economy is still bleeding jobs, and as a result we're seeing selling in risk trades in the currency market," said Win Thin, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York.

In other trading, the Australian dollar AUD= rose 0.9 percent to $0.8338 after data showed Australia's economy grew at its fastest pace in more than a year last quarter, supporting the case for an early rise in interest rates. [ID:nSYD536295]

The release of minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's August policy meeting had little impact on trading.

Policy-makers envisioned only a gradual upturn in economic activity accompanied by subdued inflation after a deep recession and devastating financial meltdown, minutes of their Aug. 11-12 meeting said. In light of that, they said it was "most likely" that they would hold benchmark U.S. rates very low for a long time. [ID:nN02549306] (Additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss) (Reporting by Nick Olivari and Wanfeng Zhou)

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