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Dollar falls to lower end of 115 yen range in Tokyo.

TOKYO, May 19 Kyodo

The U.S. dollar fell to the lower half of the 115 yen level Monday morning in Tokyo, its lowest in Tokyo since February 2001, after Group of Eight (G-8) finance ministers virtually approved a weaker dollar.

At noon, the dollar traded at 115.24-28 yen, compared with Friday's 5 p.m. quotes of 116.00-10 yen in New York and 116.34-37 yen in Tokyo.

It moved between 115.20 yen and 115.84 yen in the morning.

Silence from G-8 finance ministers about the dollar's slide against other major currencies in their weekend statement helped propel the dollar's decline, dealers said.

''The fact that there was no mention of the dollar's weakness has been taken by the currency market as a virtual approval of a weak dollar,'' said Yasushi Ishikawa, manager of Credit Lyonnais' financial engineering team.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda indicated at a regular morning news conference that Japan will intervene in the currency market when deemed necessary to prevent a sudden rise in the yen.

''Rapid changes are not favorable for Japan in terms of (its economic activity in) the U.S. market,'' Fukuda said. ''There is no change in our position that we will firmly take necessary measures.''

Meanwhile, Tokyo stocks fell sharply Monday morning, driving the key Nikkei index below the 8,000 line, after the government said Saturday it will bail out cash-strapped Resona Bank, a core bank operating under Resona Holdings Inc., Japan's fifth-largest banking group in terms of assets.

''The Nikkei has fallen, but that has had little impact on the currency market,'' said Tatsuro Karitani, vice president of Mizuho Corporate Bank's forex division.

''The theme in the currency market at the moment is a weaker dollar,'' Karitani said.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:May 20, 2003
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