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Dollar hits two-month high against yen in Asia

AFP | Last Updated: Friday, November 15, 2013 - 11:04

New York: The dollar hit a two-month high against the yen in Asia Friday on data showing a sharp fall in Japan`s economic growth and after Federal Reserve nominee Janet Yellen indicated she would keep the bank`s stimulus in place.

It also edged up against the euro following a tepid growth reading from the eurozone that raised questions about the recovery in the troubled bloc.

The greenback changed hands at 100.25 yen in Tokyo midday trade, against 100.00 yen in New York Thursday afternoon, marking its highest level since September 11. The euro was mixed at $1.3451 and 134.91 yen compared with $1.3459 and 134.61 yen.

Japan said Thursday the economy grew to 1.9 percent in the third quarter as exports weakened and consumer spending slowed. That is well down from the 3.8 percent expansion seen in the previous three months.

Later in the day the Eurostat statistics agency said the eurozone grew just 0.1 percent in the third quarter -- compared with 0.3 percent in April-June -- with Germany off its stride and France hit by a surprise contraction.

The lacklustre figures fuelled speculation that the Bank of Japan and its European counterpart may launch further monetary easing measures to boost their economies, which would tend to weigh on the yen and euro.

Adding to downward pressure on the yen were comments Thursday from Finance Minister Taro Aso who hinted at possible intervention to counter speculative moves in the Japanese currency.

The weak figures out of Tokyo offset expectations the US Federal Reserve would keep its stimulus programme in place for the time being.

Yellen told her Senate hearing she not would consider ending the bond-buying scheme as long as growth remained soft and unemployment elevated.

National Bank of Australia said: "We now go back to monitoring the data for clues as to when the taper may begin. The odds on December have likely gone back down after the last 24 hours."

First Published: Friday, November 15, 2013 - 11:04
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