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Last updated: January 17, 2013 6:39 pm
The yen resumed its weakening trend after Japan’s economy minister clarified comments made earlier in the week over the damage a weak yen could do to the country’s importers.
Akira Amari’s original comments sparked a rise in the currency but the minister told reporters on Thursdsay that his comments had been misinterpreted, and he believed that the yen was still in the process of correcting from longer-term strength.
The dollar rose 1.2 per cent to Y89.56 as investors began to focus on a meeting by the Bank of Japan on Monday, with expectations remaining high that it would take firm action to weaken the yen.
The euro moved higher against the dollar after losing ground the previous day on warnings from eurozone officials that the currency was “dangerously high”. The single currency rose 0.5 per cent to $1.3378.
The renewed sentiment on the eurozone helped the Swiss franc to hit its weakest level against the euro since the Swiss National Bank introduced its ceiling for the currency pair in 2011. The euro rose 0.8 per cent to SFr1.2485, its strongest level against the haven currency since May 2011, as a more positive outlook on the eurozone at the start of the year helped ease pressure on the franc.
The pound fell against the euro, which gained 0.6 per cent to £0.8365. Sterling also fell 0.1 per cent against the dollar to $1.5989.
The Australian dollar underperformed its major rivals on fears over the health of the Australian economy, after figures showed a surprise dip in employment levels.
The Aussie lost more than 0.5 per cent against the US dollar to touch a session low of $1.0491 after the Australian Bureau of Statistics said the country lost 5,500 jobs in December, missing expectations of a 5,000 rise.
“The labour market report suggests the performance of the Australian dollar is becoming even more dependent on the evolution of commodity prices and the willingness of foreign investors to add Aussie-denominated sovereign bonds to its portfolio of triple A sovereign holdings,” said analysts at Morgan Stanley.
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