Yen gains in Asia on decade-high inflation

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Yen gains in Asia on decade-high inflation

TOKYO - The yen firmed against the dollar and euro in Asian trade Friday as inflation in Japan surged to a decade high, reviving talk of a future interest rate hike, dealers said.

By (AFP)

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Published: Fri 29 Aug 2008, 1:32 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:04 PM

The dollar fell to 109.01 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade from 109.46 in New York late Thursday. The euro gained to 1.4755 dollars from 1.4708 while it slipped to 160.82 yen from 160.90.

‘The inflation figure caused some yen-buying since it was quite high. The markets reacted naturally,’ said Kenichi Yumoto, vice president of forex sales at Societe Generale.

Core inflation surged to 2.4 percent in July as prices rose for the 10th straight month on the back of soaring energy and raw material costs, the sharpest increase since October 1997.

While markets do not expect Japan to raise its super-low rates any time soon, the data came a day after Bank of Japan member Miyako Suda said that the central bank was prepared for a hike once the economic slump was over.

‘It may be necessary to take monetary policy steps once (the BoJ is) confident about sustainable growth under price stability,’ Suda, known as a hawk on the policy board, told reporters Thursday.

Looking both at Suda's speech and the data, ‘it is not unreasonable to think that the bias is leaning towards inflationary concerns,’ Yumoto said.

The greenback was also pressured on reports Russia may cut off oil supplies to Western countries supporting Georgia, which could send oil prices even higher, dealers said.

‘Although the Middle East holds the key to oil supplies, such action by Russia has an impact because of an already sensitive market,’ Yumoto said.

But the dollar has been holding up relatively well against other major currencies as concerns rise about the health of developed economies other than the United States.

That sentiment strengthened after a stronger-than-expected upward revision to US second-quarter growth, which eased fears of prolonged economic trouble in the world's largest economy, dealers said.

US gross domestic product grew at a 3.3 percent annual pace in the second quarter, up from an earlier estimate of 1.9 percent and a strong rebound from the 0.9 percent increase in the first quarter.

Analysts said that the revision showed better-than-expected economic momentum even if some of the growth came from a weak dollar, which boosted exports, and one-time tax rebates.

The dollar rose against most regional Asian currencies.

It firmed to 1,087.90 South Korean won from 1,082.15, to 1.4157 Singapore dollars from 1.4126, to 31.53 Taiwan dollars from 31.47 and to 34.16 Thai baht from 34.04.

The greenback also strengthened to 45.91 Philippine pesos from 45.77 but slipped to 9,153 Indonesian rupiah from 9,155.

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