LONDON (Reuters) - A selloff in the yen paused on Tuesday as it neared 100 to the dollar, while a firm start to the U.S. corporate earnings season and a fall in Chinese inflation lifted share markets.
The Japanese currency hit 99.67 to the dollar in Asian trading, the greenback’s strongest level versus the yen since May 2009, before the selloff ran out of steam. The euro stopped at a peak last seen in January 2010 of 129.94 yen.
The dollar has gained about 7 percent against the yen since the Bank of Japan (BOJ) unveiled a massive stimulus programme last Thursday involving large purchases of long term Japanese government bonds (JGBs).
“Markets are increasingly focused on the notion that larger JGB purchases, at longer maturities, by the BOJ could push Japanese domestic long-term investors elsewhere,” said Vassili Serebriakov, strategist at BNP Paribas.
In early European trading the dollar was at 98.91 yen, down 0.4 percent, while the euro was down 0.25 percent on the day at 128.93 yen.
The BOJ’s bold measures are also having a major effect on the world’s main bond markets by sending Japanese government yields down sharply and spurring a search for higher-yielding assets, sending yields lower on U.S. and euro zone debt.
The yield on 10-year Treasury notes stood at 1.74 percent, little changed from late U.S. trade on Monday, although not far from a four-month low of 1.677 percent.
German government 10-year bonds were steady at 1.24 percent having hit 1.2 percent on Friday, their lowest levels since mid-2012 when the European Central Bank promised to do whatever it took to save the euro.
European equity markets rose in early trading, led by mining stocks as investors hoped for more accommodative monetary policy from China following benign inflation data, and after U.S. firm Alcoa posted solid earnings.
The FTSE Eurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.5 percent at 1,170.30 points. London’s FTSE 100, Paris’s CAC-40 and Frankfurt’s DAX all opened as much as 0.7 percent higher.
U.S. stock futures were also firmer, suggesting a firm Wall Street open.
Earlier, the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan rose 1 percent, led by Australian shares which gained 1.4 percent on rises in blue chip financials and miners.
China’s annual consumer inflation cooled in March as food prices eased from nine-month highs and producer price deflation deepened, data showed on Tuesday, leaving policymakers room to keep monetary conditions easy and nurture a nascent recovery.
Alcoa Inc (AA.N), the largest U.S. aluminium producer, kicked off U.S. earnings on Monday, reporting an increase in quarterly profit and easing concerns about corporate results in the first three months of 2013.
U.S. crude futures rose 0.2 percent to $93.54 a barrel and Brent rose 0.15 percent to $104.83.
Crude oil prices have seen some support from tensions on the Korean peninsula after words from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un about the prospect for war with the south.
Additional reporting by Chikako Mogi. Editing by David Stamp