TOKYO: The yen picked up against the dollar and euro on Tuesday after an economic adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the unit had slid far enough.
The dollar was at 119.81 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, down from 120.15 yen in New York and 120.44 yen in Tokyo earlier Monday, while the European single currency fell to 126.32 yen from 127.02 yen in US trading.
In a television interview Monday evening, economic policy adviser Koichi Hamada said the yen was “considerably weak,” with 105 against the dollar being a more reasonable level.
He added there was no need for the Bank of Japan to expand its massive easing plan, which has helped lop about 50 percent off the yen’s value since Abe launched an economy-boosting program dubbed Abenomics in early 2013.
“The fact he specified the 105 level got a reaction from the market,” said Yuji Saito, director of foreign exchange at Credit Agricole SA in Tokyo.
“[Hamada’s] comments on the inflation target chipped away at any expectations for additional easing this month, mainly among foreign investors, adding some pressure for yen-buying.”
Stalled inflation has fuelled speculation that Japan’s central bank would ease again at its April 30 policy meeting, but Hamada said “there’s no need to force inflation” to the bank’s 2.0 percent target level.
Last week the BoJ kept its record asset purchase plan unchanged as Governor Haruhiko Kuroda tries to spur inflation that has stalled with the tumble in oil prices.
In other trading, the euro hovered near a 12-year low against the dollar ahead of US retail sales data for March, buying $1.0543 on Tuesday against $1.0571 in New York.
The single currency fell through the $1.05 mark last month for the first time since 2003 on expectations for higher US interest rates and the European Central Bank’s new bond-buying stimulus program.
The closely watched US data are forecast to show retail sales rose by the most in a year, bolstering the case for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in 2015.
“The dollar has been trading on the stronger side,” said Sireen Harajli, a strategist at Mizuho Bank.
“I’m looking for confirmation that the economy was getting better toward the end of the first quarter. The market is anticipating good figures,” he added.
The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.
It weakened to Sg$1.3634 from Sg$1.3694, to Tw$31.25 from Tw$31.28, to 1,095.10 South Korean won from 1,098.75 won, and to 32.51 Thai baht from 32.60 baht.
The Australian dollar climbed to 75.97 US cents from 75.86 cents, while the Chinese yuan was weaker at 19.26 yen from 19.38 yen.