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Yen higher; dollar steady

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by Elaine Frei

Most major currencies were very nearly unchanged on the day Wednesday, leaving the Japanese yen as the only major currency to make substantial moves on the day. The yen advanced despite comments from the governor of the Bank of Japan which indicated that interest rates will not go up in the foreseeable future.

The yen was up 0.6 percent to ¥116.65 in relation to the US dollar, while it gained 0.5 percent each to ¥140.77 versus the euro and to ¥203.87 against sterling.

The US dollar was steady at $1.2090 against the euro and at $1.7481 in relation to sterling.

Recent losses by the Icelandic krona amid worries of a coming financial crisis in that island nation’s economy have sent other emerging currencies lower as well, but most of those currencies have recovered those losses. Exceptions to this are the Hungarian forint and the Polish zloty. Both currencies are suffering continuing declines, mostly due to political uncertainty in their nations, as Hungary approaches parliamentary elections next month and as fears that Poland will call snap elections continue.

The forint lost 0.4 percent on the day to hit a two-year low of Ft265.86 versus the euro, while the Polish currency also dropped 0.4 percent to 3.9162 zlotys to the euro.

Elsewhere, the New Zealand dollar saw early losses against the US dollar in early trade due to sell-offs, hitting $0.6180, a 21-month low. The kiwi recovered later on, however, and at midday in New York it was 0.8 percent higher versus the greenback at $0.6270.

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News posted: March 22, 2006

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