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Friday September 8, 2006 - 11:49:37 GMT
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FOREX-Yen edges off one-month high vs euro after Fukui

FOREX-Yen edges off one-month high vs euro after Fukui
Fri Sep 8, 2006 7:06am ET162

(Changes byline, adds quotes, updates prices)

By Sujata Rao

LONDON, Sept 8 (Reuters) - The yen hovered below a one-month peak against the euro on Friday after Bank of Japan governor Toshihiko Fukui said he did not expect the yen to be at the centre of talks at the upcoming Group of Seven meeting.

Fukui also said the BOJ would raise rates gradually which, analysts said, would keep the yen at a disadvantage in terms of interest rate differentials with the U.S. and euro area.

The dollar also traded near six-week highs against the euro, receiving a further boost after U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said he was very much in favour of a stronger dollar.

The G7 gathering in Singapore next week has loomed large as investors look to see if finance ministers keep up pressure on countries enjoying big trade surpluses, notably China, to allow more currency appreciation.

The yen, which recently hit record lows against the single European currency, has gone up and down in line with comments about where it stands on the agenda of the meeting.

It jumped on Thursday after a German finance official said the Japanese currency's weakness would be discussed.

"Fukui didn't really say anything that was net yen positive or (give) sufficient commentary on the outlook for future (policy) tightening shifts in Japan. The market was probably positioned slightly long yen for that so that's why euro/yen has rallied slightly," said Chris Turner, head of global currency strategy at ING Bank in London.

The euro was trading around 148.05 yen by 1050 GMT, having hit a one-month low of 147.57 earlier, according to Reuters data. Euro/yen recently hit record highs of 150.78.

The dollar stood at 116.49 yen down 0.17 percent on the day, having earlier slipped 30 ticks in a knee-jerk reaction to Fukui's comments.

Analysts say long euro positioning indicates yen strength may have further to run and profit taking is likely after a spate of carry trades last month that involved selling yen to fund purchases of higher yielding currencies.

"The risks are skewed for further corrective activity," Turner said. "There may be further commentary from European officials so on balance it's not a good week to be short yen in the run up to the G7."


In April, in an annex to the post-meeting statement, G7 finance ministers called explicitly for appreciation of currencies of emerging countries with big trade surpluses to help fix global imbalances, sparking a rally in the yen.

Japanese finance minister Sadakazu Tanigaki has said the G7 will discuss exchange rates when they meet, but declined to say if the yen would be at the centre of the talks.

The European Union weighed in on Friday, calling on the International Monetary Fund to boost surveillance of the world's currencies.

But looking beyond the G7, analysts say Fukui's insistence that interest rates will be raised only gradually beyond the current 0.25 percent is yen-negative. The BOJ held rates steady at its two-day long policy meeting that ended on Friday.

"If Japanese policy rates remain steady for the remainder of the year the yen will face downward pressure for a while before starting to appreciate into the next year when BOJ restarts the rate hike (cycle)," Citigroup analysts wrote in a note.

"We reiterate the view...that the era of yen weakness has not ended."

Rate expectations have helped the dollar move higher against the euro and hold its own versus yen, as strong U.S. labour data this week rekindled expectations the Federal Reserve may raise rates again after pausing its two-year long tightening cycle last month.

The euro stayed near recent six-week lows against the dollar at $1.2711 , shrugging off comments from European Central Bank governor Jean-Claude Trichet who reiterated that "strong vigilance" was needed to ensure price stability.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson, in Vietnam for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, said he supported a strong dollar and believed the value of the currency should be set in open markets.

U.S. July consumer credit data due at 1900 GMT may provide clues on where the central bank might go next on rates. A speech by Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto will also be scrutinised.

Elsewhere, sterling hit a one-month low against the dollar for the second day running, pressured by the U.S. rate rise speculation and uncertainty over the future of British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


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