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Yen falls ahead of Japan elections

Dec 14 2012 09:13 AFP

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Tokyo - The yen fell in Asia on Friday ahead of weekend elections expected to see a change of leadership, while a key Bank of Japan survey fuelled speculation of more central bank easing.

The dollar fetched ¥83.87 in Tokyo afternoon trade from ¥83.64 in New York on Thursday afternoon.

The euro was at ¥109.74 from ¥109.38, while rising to $1.3081 against $1.3073. Japan's currency has come under pressure leading up to the December 16 polls, which are widely expected to see the ruling Democratic Party of Japan ousted by Shinzo Abe and his opposition Liberal Democratic Party.

Abe has repeatedly pledged to pressure Japan's central bank into launching more aggressive easing measures to kickstart the world's third-largest economy.

His successful re-election would boost the chances of Tokyo appointing a like-minded head of the central bank when current governor Masaaki Shirakawa's term ends next year, dealers say.

The forex market's focus was "completely on" Japan's election and the BoJ meeting, said a senior dealer at a major bank in Tokyo.

The BoJ's Tankan quarterly survey on Friday showed confidence among large manufacturers, including automakers and technology firms, plunged to the lowest level in almost three years during the final months of 2012.

The survey - which comes just days after official data showed the economy contracted in the third quarter and may have slipped into recession - was sure to heap pressure on the BoJ for a stepped-up economic offensive as it heads into a policy meeting next week, dealers said.

Currency markets were also keeping a close eye on talks in Washington on averting the fiscal cliff as concerns grow that divided US lawmakers will not clinch a new spending deal.

Supporting the euro, European finance ministers agreed on Thursday to release a €34.3bn installment of aid to debt-stricken Greece, averting a default.

The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

 

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