Yen Tops Currencies as Euro Falls


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Japanese yen was the strongest currency gainer Thursday morning as policymakers stood pat on existing interest rates and the Japan markets were closed.

The yen on Thursday climbed to its strongest level since the March 18 intervention by the G-7 group of industrialized nations, when it surged to worrying levels on concerns over fund repatriations after a massive earthquake devastated Japan.

The dollar was falling 1% to JPY 79.7745, the euro was falling 1.7% to JPY 117.474 and the British pound was down 1.1% to JPY 131.442 as the Japanese markets remained closed for the public Children's Day holiday.

While the markets in Japan were quiet, the U.S. markets were bracing for a report on private sector job growth on Friday. Wednesday's ADP National Employment report, a precursor to Friday's jobs numbers, showed that job increases only picked up at a moderate pace in April. Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Labor Department indicated that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose much faster than expected in the week ended Apr. 30.

In Europe, policymakers left the key interest rate unchanged at 1.25%, and during a press conference that followed, European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet spoke less hawkishly than expected -- dampening expectations of a rate hike in June. The developments promptly led to a selloff in the euro.

The Bank of England also left rates unchanged, at a record-low of 0.5%, on Thursday, as the UK economy continues to recover at a fragile pace.

"Without the typical cry of foul over excessive yen volatility, we should not expect further yen intervention at this stage," says Interactive Brokers Senior Market Analyst Andrew Wilkinson.

PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bearish ( UDN) was falling 0.7% to $28.97, PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ( UUP) was 0.7% higher to $21.11, CurrencyShares Euro Trust ( FXE) was falling 1% to $146.18 and CurrencyShares British Pound Sterling Trust ( FXB) was losing 0.3% to $163.57

CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust ( FXY) was gaining 0.7% to $123.38.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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