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Wednesday 07th of January 2009
February 7, 2006

Yen up sharply


by Elaine Frei

The Japanese yen was up sharply on Tuesday as speculation rose that the Bank of Japan may be getting ready to tighten its monetary policy. The yen was up 0.8 percent in relation to the US dollar, to ¥118.03. It also rose 0.8 percent against the euro to ¥141.26, while it gained 1 percent to ¥205.85 in relation to sterling and was up 0.6 percent against the Australian dollar to ¥87.73. The yen also rallied in relation to the South Korean won after reaching a four year low against the South Korean currency earlier in the trading day.

The gains came ahead of a two-day meeting of the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy committee beginning on Wednesday. This will be the bank’s first meeting since news that Japan had two successive months of positive core inflation, the first time that has happened since 1998. This circumstance has prompted talk that if this incursion into positive inflation territory lasts for one more month, the bank will begin to tighten its monetary policy. Some analysts, however, hold that three months of positive inflation will not be enough to change the bank’s policy.

Elsewhere, the US dollar held steady against the euro at $1.1970 as speculation continued that US interest rates will continue to rise, at least in the near term.

Sterling was down yet again as the British Retail Consortium’s sales survey showed like-for-like sales up only 0.2 percent in January, the poorest performance since the survey was begun in 1995. The British currency lost 0.2 percent to the US dollar, to $1.7443. Sterling also dropped 0.3 percent to the euro, to £0.6863 and fell 0.4 percent in relation to the Swiss franc, to SFr2.2643.

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