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Tuesday November 21, 2006 - 11:27:55 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX-Yen holds near record low vs euro in quiet trade

FOREX-Yen holds near record low vs euro in quiet trade
Tue Nov 21, 2006 6:20am ET26

(Updates price, adds quotes, changes byline)

By Toni Vorobyova

LONDON, Nov 21 (Reuters) - The yen held near its record low against the euro on Tuesday, nursing losses after finance chiefs meeting in Australia raised few alarms over the currency's recent weakness.

The euro held steady against the dollar, with trading expected to remain rangebound in the run up to Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday in the United States.

The low-yielding yen has been under pressure as investors sell it for higher-yielding currencies in carry trades, with the Bank of Japan seen raising interest rates only gradually.

However some say the build up of short positions in the yen potentially makes it vulnerable to a sharp correction higher.

"The yen has been used extensively for a funding currency so I would be watching the yen very closely for any signs of position unwinding," said Ian Stannard, senior FX strategist at BNP Paribas, citing 117.90 yen per dollar as a key level.

By 1102 GMT the euro was up 0.1 percent on the day at 151.36 yen , around 30 ticks away from Monday's record high.

The dollar was steady at 118.06 yen , whilst the euro traded at $1.2820 .

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said central bankers did not discuss the yen at their meeting in Australia on Tuesday but he did say they had thorough discussions on China and reaffirmed the Group of Seven call for FX flexibility.

BOJ RATES

The yen had got a brief lift after BOJ Deputy Governor Toshiro Muto told the Jiji news agency that the timing of when the central bank next raises interest rates was completely open, including at its policy board meeting in December.

Many traders expect the BOJ to raise rates by 25 basis points to 0.50 percent in the January-March quarter, while some see a chance of a rise next month.

Minutes of the BOJ's Oct. 12-13 meeting, released on Tuesday, showed the nine-strong policy board agreed rates should be raised gradually, depending on prevailing economic and price conditions.

"The Bank of Japan showed overnight they haven't decided yet when they want to start raising rates. When they do so they want to prepare markets in advance to take some of the shock value. They haven't done that yet," said Laura Ambroseno, currency strategist at Morgan Stanley.

Expectations for low Japanese interest rates contrast with investor views that the ECB will tighten again next month and the Federal Reserve will keep rates at the current 5.25 percent.

On a quiet day for euro zone and U.S. data, a key event could prove to be the release of Canadian September retail sales at 1330 GMT. With sales forecast to fall 0.8 percent on the month, analysts said the data could provide a catalyst for renewed Canadian dollar weakness.

"With U.S. dollar flirting with C$1.1500, we think a sharp rally in the pair could trigger stop-losses, sending it significantly higher in a knee jerk reaction to the numbers," ABN AMRO said in a note to clients.

The U.S. dollar was trading around C$1.1455 after hitting a seven-month high of C$1.1484 on Monday .

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

 

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