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Friday April 1, 2005 - 07:45:29 GMT

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Yen near 5-mth low versus dollar on weak BOJ tankan


Yen near 5-mth low versus dollar on weak BOJ tankan


The yen edged towards a five-month low against the dollar on Friday after a weak reading in the Bank of Japan's quarterly survey of business sentiment raised more doubts about the strength of Japan's recovery.

But traders said the yen's fall was stemmed ahead of much-awaited U.S. jobs data and because many in the market had factored in a weak figure for the BOJ's tankan survey.

Dealers said the yen fell as far as 107.58 per dollar, in sight of a five-month low of 107.70 hit on Wednesday, after the tankan's diffusion index for big manufacturers came in at plus 14 in March.

Although a positive number in the index suggests an expansion in business activity, the March figure was well down from plus 22 in December and from expectations for plus 23.

By 05h20 GMT, the dollar was at around 107.50 yen, compared with 107.15 yen in late U.S. trade on Thursday.

Chart followers said the dollar was at a crucial technical juncture against the yen.

A downtrend line drawn from a peak of 135.20 yen, hit in January 2002, lies in the mid 107 yen-level, and a break above 108 yen could signal an end to the three-year decline of the dollar, traders said.

The euro bought around 139.30 yen, up from 138.91 yen. It was little changed at $1.2960.

The dollar has risen about three percent over the past two weeks after the Federal Reserve suggested it could raise interest rates quicker than the current moderate pace if inflation heats up.

For clues about the health of the U.S. economy and the possibility of a pick-up in inflation, the market will scrutinize the non-farm payrolls figures due at 13h30 GMT.

Economists expect the data to show 220,000 jobs were created in March, below the 262,000 gain in February, but still suggesting solid employment growth.

The Fed has raised rates by a quarter-percentage point at seven straight policy meetings, but the chance that it might switch to half-percentage-point increases could help lure more foreign investors to short-term dollar deposits.

Some traders said the yen could face renewed selling pressure when London and New York traders look at the tankan report.

The tankan follows a run of weak readings for Japanese economic indicators, including data on Wednesday that showed industrial output fell a worse-than-expected 2.1 percent in February from a month earlier.

It was the biggest decline in a year and was key to the yen's fall to the five-month low.

Still, others said the tankan might not be a yen-selling factor, since it also shows that companies expected to boost capital spending by 1.0 percent in the new business year in Japan that kicked off on Friday.

Economists had forecast a decline of 1.0 percent.

The Tokyo stock market's benchmark Nikkei average was up 0.15 percent in late afternoon trade after falling on the weak tankan.


EURO/DOLLAR: Broken daily downtrend line off 2004 high stands today at $1.2991 today, with weekly envelope bottom at $1.2853 having been tested. $1.2923 as first support, with next levels at $1.2908/ .2895, ahead of .2853 favored to hold. If wrong, daily uptrends line off .8699 (March 03) at $1.2823, with daily Bollinger bottom at $1.2758: tough on first test and small rebuy amid ST oversold readings.


DOLLAR/YEN: New Year high on break above 106.19 (neckline daily Triple Bottoms), with pair testing long-term daily downtrend line off 114.88 (107.29 today), but amid short-term overbought readings. First resistance area at 107.69, with next levels at 107.87: favored to cap and short-term resell area. 1st support area at 106.83, ahead of 106.62/ .52.


EURO/STERLING: Currently below long-term daily uptrend line off 65.72 (69.00 today), but amid short-term oversold readings and short-term bullish divergences. 1st support area at 68.55 (daily Bollinger bottom), ahead of 68.49/ .43 expected to hold. If wrong, next levels at 68.30 (daily envelope), ahead of 68.16 (daily Starc bottom): tough and rebuy. First resistance area at 68.79 with next levels at 68.94/ 69.00, ahead of 69.16/.29: favored to cap on 1st test.


@14h30 GMT: Unemployment Rate for March, change in Non Farm Payrolls and Average Weekly Hours

@15h45 GMT: University of Michigan Confidence for March

@16h00 GMT: Construction Spending for  February, ISM Manufacturing for March and ISM Prices Paid.


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