Yen gives up early gains in Asian trade

The yen slipped back into its recent weakening trend on Wednesday, giving up early gains, with dealers saying the reversal was largely down to dollar buying among importers and investors.

The greenback bought 87.43 yen in afternoon trade in Tokyo, up from 86.97 yen late in New York Tuesday, and from 86.87 yen on Wednesday morning.

The euro bought 114.43 yen, up from 113.75 yen in New York and 113.64 yen in Tokyo in morning trade, while the single currency edged up to $1.3088 from $1.3079.

There were few fresh trading cues with dollar-buying coming from importers, Japanese retail investors and fund investors overseas, Tokyo dealers said.

"I believe the yen's weakening trend is still intact," Daisaku Ueno, senior foreign exchange and fixed income strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley, told Dow Jones Newswires.

Japan's currency has come under selling pressure since the nation's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed before his successful election last month to push the Bank of Japan for more aggressive monetary easing.

After taking office at the end of December, he repeated that pledge as he centres his first weeks in power on fixing the limp economy.

On Tuesday, Japan's new finance minister said Tokyo would buy bonds issued by Europe's permanent bailout fund to help soothe debt problems in the eurozone -- a major Japanese export market -- and stabilise the yen.

But London-based Capital Economics said in a note that the bond-buying was unlikely to further weaken the yen on its own because the purchases are being made from existing foreign currency reserves.

"Any impact would therefore have to be indirect, relying instead on Japan's purchases contributing to a general improvement in sentiment towards the eurozone and a reduction in safe haven demand for the yen," it said.

On Tuesday, fresh data showed eurozone unemployment hit a new record-high of 11.8 percent in November, while retail spending grew less than expected.

The weak data revived speculation that a European Central Bank meeting Thursday could usher in more stimulus, and further weaken the euro.

Markets will also be looking to US central banker speeches this week as traders keep a close eye out for Federal Reserve policy moves.

The dollar was broadly lower against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It slipped to Sg$1.2261 from Sg$1.2305 on Tuesday, to 30.36 Thai baht from 30.43 baht, to 40.77 Philippine pesos from 40.87 pesos, and to 1,061.55 South Korean won from 1,063.10 won.

The greenback also weakened to 54.93 Indian rupees from 55.32 rupees and to Tw$29.00 from Tw$29.02.

But it rose to 9,837 Indonesian rupiah from 9,832 rupiah.

The Australian dollar gained to $1.0506 from $1.0480 while China's yuan was flat at 14.05 yen.

--

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