February 11, 2013 9:01 pm

Yen declines ahead of G20

The yen resumed its sell-off ahead of this week’s meeting of finance ministers and central bankers, with the slide accelerating late in New York after a Treasury official said the US supported Japan’s efforts to boost its economy.

The dollar rose as much as 1.8 per cent to Y94.42, its highest level since May 2010, according to Reuters data. Meanwhile the euro jumped more than 2 per cent to Y126.46.

The late afternoon moves effectively doubled losses for the yen in the session as market ignored recent remarks from the Japanese finance minister warning that yen weakness had gone too far.

But analysts said there was nervousness around trading the Japanese currency in advance of the G20 meeting in Moscow, with some paring short positions on the yen in anticipation of a statement from leaders about exchange rate protocol.

Figures from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed that traders pared their short positions on the Japanese currency last week.

“Further nervousness could see short covering in the yen continue heading into the G20 meeting as we will likely hear more rhetoric from policy makers on currencies,” said analysts at BNP Paribas.

The euro rose against other major currencies after Jens Weidmann, head of Germany’s Bundesbank, said it was not significantly overvalued and cast doubt on any move by the European Central Bank to cut interest rates.

The comments helped the single currency to regain some of its losses incurred last week after Mario Draghi, ECB president, said that the central bank was monitoring the strength of the euro.

The single currency gained 0.4 per cent against the dollar to $1.3427 but remained well below a 15-month high of more than $1.37 reached at the start of the month.

The euro was also higher against the pound, rising 1.3 per cent to £0.8573 as sterling suffered a further sell-off after a report showed that business confidence in the UK had hit a record low.

The pound fell 0.8 per cent against the dollar to $1.5667 as an optimism index created by BDO, the accountancy firm, said confidence among UK businesses in January was at its lowest ever recorded.

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