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Monday November 20, 2006 - 11:54:18 GMT
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FOREX-Yen hits lifetime low vs euro after G20, Trichet

FOREX-Yen hits lifetime low vs euro after G20, Trichet
Mon Nov 20, 2006 6:26am ET146

(Changes dateline, byline, recasts, updates prices)

By Veronica Brown

LONDON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The yen slipped to a record low against the euro and dropped versus the dollar on Monday, after a weekend Group of 20 finance chiefs meeting yielded few comments on the Japanese currency's recent weakness.

The euro was further boosted after European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said the ECB had to be strongly vigilant on inflation risks.

"The fact that the yen had not been mentioned explicitly in the G20 ... added to the realisation that the ECB might not be done when they hike rates next month is helping to keep the euro reasonably well bid," Rabobank markets strategist Jeremy Stretch said.

The ECB is widely seen raising interest rates to 3.5 percent next month. ECB governing council member Nicholas Garganas was quoted as saying on Monday that monetary policy remained expansionary despite rate increases in the past year.

In contrast, Japan's overnight call rate stands at just 0.25 percent. The yield gap has kept the yen under pressure through carry trades -- where investors borrow cheaply in the Japanese currency to invest in higher yielding assets elsewhere.

"There wasn't any explicit mention of carry trades or anything like that (at the G20) ... so it would help to explain why the yen lost a bit of ground, to the extent that there had been some latent anticipation of some central bank comments on the subject," said Martin McMahon, FX strategist at Credit Suisse in Zurich.

By 1100 GMT, the euro had climbed as high as 151.68 yen , the strongest since its 1999 launch. The yen was down around 0.3 percent against the dollar to 118.01 yen .

The euro was up 0.1 percent on the day at $1.2844 .

The G20 said on Sunday after the two-day meeting that the world's major economies face growing inflation risks but prospects for economic growth are strong. The meeting also featured fresh calls for more foreign exchange flexibility.

The yen showed a muted reaction to comments on Monday from Japanese Vice Finance Minister for international affairs Hiroshi Watanabe, who said there were no reasons on the domestic side for further depreciation of the yen.


The Canadian dollar, which has been under pressure from falling oil prices and soft capital flows data, briefly hit a 14-month low of C$1.4718 against the euro . But against the U.S. dollar, it recovered from Friday's seven-month trough of C$1.1475 to trade at C$1.1433.

"We are reluctant to view the recent Canadian dollar sell-off as a buying opportunity, but rather confirmation that we have entered an extended period of Canadian dollar underperformance - particularly on the crosses," State Street analyst Brian Garvey said in a note to clients. Data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Friday showed that speculators lifted their net short Canadian dollar position to a record 47,375 contracts in the week to Nov. 14.

Analysts said major currencies would probably be stuck in narrow ranges this week, with public holidays in the United States and Japan on Thursday, and few data releases due from the world's biggest economy.

Monday's events include a speech by ECB Executive Board member Juergen Stark at a conference in Vienna, and a speech on competitiveness in U.S. capital markets from U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in New York at 1700 GMT.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


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