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Dollar rises into upper 89 yen zone as stock gains lift risk appetite.

TOKYO, Feb. 4 Kyodo

The U.S. dollar briefly rose into the upper 89 yen range Wednesday morning in Tokyo as gains in U.S. and Japanese shares increased risk appetite among investors prompting dollar-buying.

At noon, the dollar fetched 89.55-60 yen versus 89.38-48 yen in New York and 89.72-74 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The euro traded at $1.3015-3020 and 116.57-62 yen against

$1.3035-3045 and 116.46-56 yen in New York and $1.2868-2870 and 115.45-49 yen in Tokyo late Tuesday.

The dollar began Tokyo trading at the lower 89 yen level and rose into the upper 89 yen range as better-than-expected housing sales data pushed U.S. and Japanese shares upward, lifting investor sentiment in terms of buying the U.S. currency.

According to data released Tuesday by the National Association of Realtors, the Pending Home Sales Index, which is based on contracts signed during the month, rose an unexpected 6.3 percent to 87.7 from 82.5 in November.

''Looking at better-than-expected data including the ISM, market participants are a little relieved, hoping for a possible respite in recent gloomy figures showing further deterioration in the (U.S.) economy,'' said Masashi Hashimoto, manager of the global markets sales and trading division at the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi-UFJ.

Earlier this week, the Institute for Supply and Management said its manufacturing PMI improved to 35.6 in January, better than the average market forecast.

The Nikkei Stock Average finished Wednesday morning trading 2 percent higher at 7,994.09, snapping a three-day losing streak.

But overall, currency traders were reluctant to buy the dollar aggressively in the morning in Tokyo as they awaited the ADP employment report for January to get a rough picture of how the U.S. unemployment situation will turn out in the government's key jobs data Friday, dealers said.

Tuesday's decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve to ease a dollar-funding shortage also limited the currency's upside, as increased liquidity reduces investor demand for it, dealers added.

The U.S. central bank said it will extend its key liquidity programs and swap agreements with its foreign counterparts through the end of October, adding that the Bank of Japan will consider the extension at its next policy meeting.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Feb 10, 2009
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