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Dollar briefly falls to upper 80 yen in Tokyo after soft U.S. data.

TOKYO, May 18 Kyodo

The U.S. dollar fell to the upper 80 yen range at one point on Wednesday in Tokyo following the release of disappointing U.S. economic data while the euro remained steady against other major currencies amid receding worries over eurozone sovereign debt problems.

At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 81.01-02 yen, down from 81.37-47 yen in New York and 81.62-64 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

It moved between 80.97 yen and 81.55 yen during the day, trading most frequently at 81.40 yen.

The euro traded at $1.4255-56 and 115.48-52 yen, against $1.4232-4242 and 115.86-96 yen in New York and $1.4161-4163 and 115.58-62 yen in Tokyo late Tuesday.

Dealers said weaker-than-expected U.S. housing starts and industrial output data for April, released Tuesday, as well as an overnight fall in U.S. Treasury yields weighed on the dollar, pulling it down from the previous day's high at the upper 81 yen level.

Even so, continued speculation about yen-selling flows linked to large-scale acquisitions of overseas companies by Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and Toshiba Corp. helped limit the dollar's decline and lent support for the euro against the Japanese currency, dealers said.

''We are seeing some weak U.S. economic data recently, and worries about an economic slowdown are increasing,'' Junya Tanase, foreign exchange strategist at JPMorgan Chase Bank, said.

Referring to a subsequent fall in the yield on the 10-year Treasury note overnight, he said, ''If such a move continues, it could add pressure on the dollar against the yen.''

The euro held firm against the dollar, continuing to rise following European finance ministers' endorsement of a bailout for Portugal earlier this week. Meanwhile, the single European currency gave up some of its recent gains against the yen.

Shuichi Kanehira, deputy general manager of the foreign exchange division at Mizuho Corporate Bank, said euro-selling prompted by worries over the sovereign debt crisis has eased somewhat following the bailout decision although various euro-negative factors, such as Greece's debt problems, remain.

''Market attention was deflected away from the (debt) issues at least for now,'' he said, adding that the prospects for the U.S. Treasury yields and stock prices are likely to be among factors drawing attention for the time being.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:May 23, 2011
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