NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Japanese yen has sunk to a six-month low against the U.S. dollar on speculation that Japan's central bank will take longer than other countries to raise interest rates.

The U.S. dollar was rising 0.4% against the Japanese currency at 85.181 yen. On Wednesday, the U.S. currency hit a six-month high against the Japanese currency at 85.515 yen.

The Bank of Japan is expected to announce that it has maintained its target rate at zero to 0.1% at the end of its two-day meeting on Thursday, according to a


survey of economists, as the country tries to get back on its feet again after being struck by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

The Bank of Japan is thinking of introducing a credit program that would encourage banks to lend to companies facing cash-flow shortages following the earthquake, according to



"The selling of Japanese yen continues, folks," said EverBank World Markets President Chuck Butler. "The yen has lost 3.3% in the past month, and I just don't see this being a short-term move."

Canada's Department of Finance said it sold $124 million of Japanese yen during the G7 group of industrialized nations' coordinated maneuver to stem the yen's appreciation last month.

Marc Ostwald of Monument Securities said the long-term technical supports of the yen are being threatened.

The dollar was falling 0.5% against the euro at EUR 0.69936, with the European Central Bank widely expected to raise its key interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.25% at its Thursday meeting; the move would widen the interest rate differentials between the U.S. and Europe.

"The euro has been well-supported in recent weeks, despite renewed concerns about the periphery and the notion that a more hawkish monetary policy stance by the ECB will weigh on weaker Eurozone member states," said UBS foreign exchange strategist Manuel Oliveri.

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-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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