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Tuesday December 1, 2009 - 11:22:23 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Yen falls on new BOJ operations, trims losses

Tue Dec 1, 2009 5:55am EST

* Yen falls after BOJ announces new funding operations

* BOJ's Shirakawa: Low rates will have long-term yen impact

* Dollar down on risk demand, Aussie up after RBA rate rise

(Releads, adds comment, updates throughout)

By Naomi Tajitsu

LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters) - The yen fell broadly on Tuesday after the Bank of Japan announced more measures to ease monetary policy to help the ailing economy following an emergency meeting, while holding interest rates at 0.1 percent.

Despite its gains against the yen, the dollar fell against other major currencies as risk appetite improved after more clarity about the debt situation in Dubai eased some concerns about the region's stability.

The yen struggled, but pared losses as the BOJ's move to provide three-month funds at rock-bottom rates surprised some in the market who had been expecting bolder policy steps, such as expanding purchases of government bonds to push yields down.

Addressing strength in the yen, which shot to a 14-year high against the dollar last week, BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said the central bank's commitment to keeping rates low would have an effect on currencies in the long run. [ID:nTKU105715]

"The message is that the BOJ isn't completely indifferent to currency rates, and this should at least be marginally yen- negative," said Adam Cole, global head of currency strategy at RBC in London, while acknowledging the yen's initial reaction to the comments had been limited.

Shirakawa spoke to reporters after the BOJ introduced a new operation to provide 10 trillion yen in three-month funds at a fixed rate of 0.1 percent in a bid to enhance monetary easing by trying to bring down longer-term rates. [ID:nTKZ006325]

By 1044 GMT, the dollar JPY= traded 0.5 percent higher on the day at 86.80 yen, having hit 87.54 yen earlier in the day.

The dollar has suffered against the yen, hitting 84.82 yen late last week for the first time since mid-1995, as dollar interbank borrowing costs have fallen below yen ones this year.

The euro EURJPY=R rose 1 percent to 130.90 yen, while higher-yielding currencies including the Australian and New Zealand dollar rallied as much as 2 percent versus the yen.

The euro EUR= rose 0.4 percent to $1.5065 as risk demand rose after restructuring plans by Dubai World, which has been the centre of concerns about the region's debt position, eased some woes about the area's financial health.

The dollar index .DXY fell half a percent to 74.550, while European share prices rallied roughly 2 percent.

"The market is keeping an eye on Dubai, but it realises that it's likely this won't lead to a systematic decline in Dubai's financial sector, so traders are willing to take on risk," said Jane Foley, research director at Forex.com in London.

MORE DOLLAR/YEN WEAKNESS?

The Australian dollar AUD=D4 rose nearly 1 percent on the day to $0.9230, boosted after the Reserve Bank of Australia raised interest rates by 25 basis points to 3.75 as expected on Tuesday in its third consecutive hike. [ID:nSYD117816]

Many in the market expect the dollar to stay weak against the yen, which may seriously hamper Japan's ability to recovery from recession.

Analysts said there was little standing in the way of more yen strength against the dollar so long as U.S. interest rates also remain essentially at zero, and that the prospects of yen-weakening intervention by Japan will remain low given the dollar's overall weakness.

"(The new BOJ operation) is unlikely to either have a material impact on economic recovery or alter the downward momentum in USD/JPY," analysts at BTM said in a note.

"In fact it may even exacerbate USD weakness by further encouraging the establishment of liquidity fuelled USD-funded risk trades."

Political pressure on the BOJ to avert recession has grown, but Tuesday's decision is seen as a way to avoid a return to a narrow form of quantitative easing, under which the BOJ slashed rates to zero and flooded markets with cash in 2001-2006. (Editing by Chris Pizzey) ((naomi.tajitsu@reuters.com; +44 207 542 5830; Reuters Messaging: naomi.tajitsu.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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