FOREX-Yen falls broadly as risk currencies stage bounce

Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:35am IST

* Good earnings, Spain's auction, German data lift sentiment

* Yen broadly slips ahead of Japan trade data, BOJ meeting

* Hawkish sounding BOC helps sparks loonie rally

By Hideyuki Sano and Ian Chua

TOKYO/SYDNEY, April 18 (Reuters) - The yen fell broadly on Wednesday, extending its slip from a seven-week high against the dollar earlier this week, as a revival in risk appetite saw Wall Street score its biggest gains in a month.

Upbeat earnings from U.S. companies such as Coca-Cola , Spain's successful move to raise money in the debt market and an unexpectedly strong reading of German investor confidence all worked to boost market confidence.

The dollar rose as high as 81.284 yen, pulling further away from Monday's trough of 80.29, while the euro rose to 106.55 yen, well off Monday's low around 104.62.

The yen is coming under pressure ahead of Japan's trade data on Thursday, which is expected to show Tokyo's trade balance swung to deficit in March after a small surplus in February.

Also hampering the yen were expectations that the Bank of Japan will likely take fresh easing steps on April 27, in contrast to the growing perception in the market that the U.S. Fed may not hint at new easing steps at its April 24-25 meeting.

"Firmness in the U.S. economic data appears to be reducing the need for easing for now. So unless global shares fall sharply, the yen is likely to come under pressure for the time being," said a trader at a Japanese bank.

The dollar's possible target in the near term include 81.78, a 38.2 percent retracement of its decline since March and April 10 high of 81.87.

While huge gains in Wall Street shares supported risk currencies, the euro made only modest gains, with investors still cautious ahead of Spain's bond sale on Thursday. It last stood at $1.3119, off a high of $1.3173.

The clear winner overnight was the Canadian dollar, which got an unexpected boost after the Bank of Canada (BOC) surprised traders by suggesting that it was closer to raising interest rates as economic conditions improve at home and abroad.

That saw the U.S. dollar fall to C$0.9886 from a high of C$1.0011, bringing into focus this year's low of C$0.9842 hit in February.

The BOC held its key rate at 1 percent as expected, but issued a statement that included explicit language on eventual rate increases for the first time since last July. That prompted some dealers to expect a rate hike as early as the first quarter of next year rather than late 2013.

"Relative rate expectations should work in the CAD's favour particularly against the commodity currencies," analysts at BNP Paribas wrote in a client note.

The Australian dollar could further underperform its Canadian peer if inflation data due next week supports views for a rate cut at the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) May 1 meeting.

The Aussie dollar fell to C$1.0244 from a high of $1.0358, putting even more distance from the February peak of C$1.0783. Against the U.S. dollar, the Australian dollar stood almost flat at $1.0400.

Commodity currencies fared well thanks to the improved risk sentiment. The Australian dollar popped above $1.0400 from lows around $1.0305. It appeared to have found a solid base near $1.0200, even with the market bracing for a May 1 rate cut.

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