FOREX-Yen eases on month-end flows but stays above 7-1/2-mth low

Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:48am IST

* Traders say yen falls due to month-end yen selling, stop-losses

* Yen fall curbed by concern on U.S. fiscal cliff, economy

* BOJ speculation also pared back ahead of election

* Boehner's comments dent budding hopes of U.S. budget deal

* Euro supported by fall in Spanish, Italian bond yields

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The yen dropped on Friday after month-end selling from Japanese firms triggered some stop-loss selling, but concerns about the deadlock over the U.S. "fiscal cliff" helped to keep it above last week's 7-1/2-month low versus the dollar.

The dollar rose 0.4 percent to 82.44 yen, edging closer to last week's peak of 82.84 yen. The dollar was up more than 3 percent this month due to speculation of radical money-printing in Japan after an election next month.

That also helped to lift the euro to seven-month high of 107.29 yen.

Still, local traders attributed the yen's fall on Friday to month-end selling from Japanese companies and subsequent stop-losses selling, saying it is likely to be a one-off move.

While many market players agree the yen is likely to be in a long-term downtrend due to chances of more easing by the BOJ and the country's trade deficits in recent months, concerns about the U.S. economy could counter that trend in the near term, some analysts also said.

"If there is no progress in the U.S. debt talks, the dollar is likely to fall below 82 yen next week," said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief FX strategist at Barclays in Tokyo, noting recent U.S. economic data had not been as solid as before.

Top U.S. Republican lawmaker John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, said on Thursday there had been no substantive progress made in resolving the U.S. budget impasse in the last two weeks.

U.S. economic growth in July-Sept was revised up to 2.7 percent on Thursday from the initial reading of 2.0 percent growth, but the revision was boosted by restocking by businesses, and consumer and business spending -- more direct gauges of the economy -- were revised lower.

JAPAN ELECTION

In addition, speculation of aggressive monetary easing by the Bank of Japan after a likely victory of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party on a Dec. 16 election -- the main driver of the yen's fall this month -- is being pared back as well.

Opposition leader Shinzo Abe, the front-runner to become prime minister, has called for radical change in monetary policy, including unlimited easing, but some of his ideas did not make into his party's official policy platform.

"I think the Abe story has gone a bit too far. Support for Abe may not grow much. And if he does not have a sweeping victory, investors will have to review their scenario," said Yunosuke Ikeda, senior currency analyst at Nomura Securities.

Abe's idea has drawn criticism, not just from the ruling party but also from possible coalition partner and business leaders.

"Abe seems to be toning down a bit. For now it's hard to expect him to say something that would further boost speculation of more easing," said Barclay's Yamamoto.

The euro stood near one-month high of $1.3015 hit on Thursday, changing hands at $1.2995, up slightly from late New York levels.

The euro has also been helped by fall in Spanish and Italian bond yields in recent weeks, as well as relief after Greece's international lenders agreed on an aid deal for Athens earlier this week.

The 10-year Italian bond yield hit two-year low on Thursday, while its Spanish peer fell to its lowest level since March.

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