US dollar has soared to its highest level against the yen
Tokyo - Arab Today
The dollar soared to its highest level against the yen in more than 12 years on Thursday, powered by expectations for a US interest rate hike and more monetary easing from Japan's central bank.
The greenback briefly touched 124.30 yen in Tokyo midday trading, its highest level since late 2002, before settling back to 124.11 yen. That compares with 123.63 yen in New York late Wednesday.
Investors have been in an upbeat mood as equities surge, with the Nasdaq hitting a new record Wednesday and Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index marching toward its longest rally since 1988.
"It’s likely that the yen will continue to slowly weaken and we’ll have a global risk-on mode," said Mitsushige Akino, executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management.
“The US economy is OK and as Yellen said recently, the US is trying to raise rates,” he added.
The dollar has resumed its bull run against the yen on growing expectations that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates by the end of the year while the Bank of Japan is tipped to launch more stimulus to kickstart a sluggish economy.
The chances of a rate hike -- which tends to boost demand for dollar-denominated assets -- have increased following positive US data this week and comments from Fed chief Janet Yellen Friday that rates would go up "at some point this year".
"The market is getting an inkling that the data in the US will start to get stronger,” Claudio Piron, a Bank of America strategist, told Bloomberg News.
“The trend will be your friend in terms of a higher dollar.”
The yen has lost about half its value against the dollar since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe swept to power in late 2012 on a ticket to revive his country's long tepid economy.
A huge monetary easing plan from the Bank of Japan, launched just over two years ago, has been a cornerstone of the growth push and helped push down the currency from around 80 to the dollar when Abe took over.
In other trading on Thursday, the euro bought $1.0908 and 135.36 yen, edging up from $1.0906 and 134.83 yen in US trade.
Investors are keeping a wary eye on Greece as snail-pace talks between Athens and its creditors over reforming its bailout drag on.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday his country was "in the final stretch" of talks with its EU-IMF creditors on an agreement to release bailout funds that are needed for it to service its debts.
However, EU sources said a meeting in Brussels between the two sides had been delayed by several hours, while European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis earlier said there were important areas still to be resolved.
There are fears that if Athens defaults it could tumble out of the eurozone, which would likely roil global markets.