November 20, 2014 / 5:22 AM / 3 years ago

FOREX-Yen slides to fresh 7-year low vs dollar; Aussie falters

* Yen slides as speculators gun for 120.00 target

* Fed minutes dovish, but see little danger in dollar gains

* Aussie dollar held back by drop in iron ore prices (Updates levels, adds comments)

By Wayne Cole and Masayuki Kitano

SYDNEY/SINGAPORE, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The yen slid on Thursday, striking seven-year lows against the dollar and a six-year trough versus the euro as speculators poured into carry trades funded by a tide of super-cheap liquidity from the Bank of Japan.

The dollar romped as far as 118.64 yen, its highest level since August 2007. The greenback last traded at 118.62 yen, up 0.6 percent on the day, having risen almost 10 yen since the BOJ sprang its surprise stimulus steps on the market at the end of October.

Likewise, the euro shot to 148.80 yen, touching its strongest level against the yen since October 2008.

The dollar had a brief hiccup on Wednesday when minutes of the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting struck a more dovish tone than its post-meeting statement had.

But they also showed Fed members were relatively unconcerned about the dollar's strength, a marked contrast to most other major central banks where weaker currencies are favoured.

"The Fed has left the green light shining brightly for further USD gains," said Alan Ruskin, global head of currency strategy at Deutsche.

"The USD/JPY take-profit zone still looks some way off, a little ahead of the major 120 yen level."

Many investors seemed to agree, with a Citibank poll of its customers finding almost 40 percent expected the dollar to trade atop 120.00 yen by year end.

"Now that 120 is within reach, I think the market wants to take it there," said Stephen Innes, senior trader for FX broker OANDA in Singapore, referring to the dollar's rise versus the yen.

Later on Thursday, the dollar could take its cues from a batch of U.S. economic data, including the consumer price index and jobless claims.

With the market focused on the yen, the euro moved only marginally on the U.S. dollar, easing 0.1 percent to $1.2545 .

The Australian dollar fell 0.3 percent to $0.8589, after the price of iron ore .IO62-CNI=SI hit a five-year low.

Iron ore is Australia's largest export earner and has nearly halved in value this year, partly due to a slowdown in China.

A private survey showing that growth in China's manufacturing sector stalled in November, with output contracting for the first time in six months, also weighed on the Australian dollar. (Additional reporting by Cecile Lefort in Sydney; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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