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Yen fights back against major currencies after being battered

THE yen rose against other major currencies yesterday after taking a battering this week, recovering from a five-month low against the New Zealand dollar.

The repatriation of funds by a major Japanese investor ahead of the end of the business year on March 31 prompted the yen to rise against the US dollar.

That in turn prompted some investors to take profits from recent strong gainers against the yen such as the Australian dollar after its jump to a near five-month peak earlier this week.

The Aussie dollar has climbed 10 percent against the yen in March, poised for its biggest monthly rise since 1995, as growing stability in stock markets encourages investors to buy riskier and higher-yielding currencies.

The New Zealand dollar has been another beneficiary of such moves after government yields rose in a sign that investors were reining in expectations for lower rates.

The yen, on the other hand, had been battered because of the fear that Japan could be the slowest of the major economies to recover from recession after more dire economic data was released.

Figures released yesterday showed that Japanese consumer price inflation has stalled and suggested the economy was edging toward deflation.

"Gains in yen crosses this week have been big and sharp, and traders naturally want to take a break before the weekend," said a senior trader at a Japanese brokerage firm.

The Nikkei 225 average was little changed yesterday, with exporters such as Canon Inc climbing on growing optimism about a recovery in the United States but other stocks succumbing to profit-taking after rallies over the past two weeks.

US stock futures edged down in Asian trade and pointed to a possible retreat in Wall Street, reducing some risk appetite that had helped the Australian and New Zealand dollars, traders said.


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