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Friday February 9, 2007 - 22:05:47 GMT
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FOREX-Yen extends decline ahead of G7 communique

FOREX-Yen extends decline ahead of G7 communique
Fri Feb 9, 2007 4:23pm ET145

(Recasts, updates prices)

By Nick Olivari

NEW YORK, Feb 9 (Reuters) - The yen extended losses on Friday on growing doubts that finance officials at the Group of Seven meeting in Germany this weekend would take any action to stem the Japanese currency's decline.

The yen fell against the euro for the fourth straight day and against the U.S. dollar for the third session in a row.

The meeting of the Group of Seven rich nations in Essen, Germany, which concludes on Saturday, has been the key focus this week for investors who have sold the yen and other low-yielding currencies, and used the proceeds to buy high-yielding currencies in the so-called "carry trade."

European policy-makers have been calling for the G7 to tackle the yen's weakness as it makes European exports more expensive in Japan and makes Japanese exports cheaper in Europe. However, officials from Washington and Tokyo have played down the issue.

The G7 traditionally makes a statement at the end of the meeting, and so far investors are betting the yen will not be a focus.

"There is not much to do before the communique comes out," said Enrico Caruso, chief currency trader at Tempest Asset Management, a currency hedge fund based in Newport Beach, California. "Something coming out on the carry trade would be the most disastrous for the market as no one has positioned for it."

Late afternoon in New York, the euro was up 0.3 percent at 158.27 yen , recovering from a short, sharp fall earlier in European trade. Earlier in the session, the euro rose to 158.38 against the yen, according to electronic trading platform EBS, its highest level since Jan. 24.

The dollar was up 0.6 percent at 121.69 yen , rising as high as 121.75, according to Reuters data, its highest since Jan. 31.

Earlier Friday, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the yen's weakness is not specifically on the agenda at the G7 meeting, but will come up in separate discussions.

Japanese Finance Minister Koji Omi, meanwhile, reiterated on Friday that he was not in a position to comment on the yen and that the currency should reflect economic fundamentals.

Analysts said current interest rate fundamentals dictated a continuation in the carry trade play for now.

"The global search for yield continues, and in that environment carry trades should continue to outperform," said Dustin Reid, senior currency strategist at ABN Amro in Chicago.

"So the yen, being the global funding currency of choice, is expected to stay weak over the next couple of months," he added.

Elsewhere, the euro was down 0.3 percent against the U.S. dollar at $1.3004 , surrendering gains made after European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet on Thursday signaled a ECB interest rate rise was likely in March.

The Canadian dollar rose sharply against the U.S. dollar after data showing Canada added 88,900 jobs in January, well above a forecast of 10,000. The U.S. dollar fell 0.8 percent to C$1.1722.

In the United States, speeches by St. Louis Federal Reserve President William Poole, Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto and Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher on Friday had little impact on currency trading.

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.


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