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Yen under pressure on BoJ nominee's comments

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The yen weakened in Asia Monday as the nominee for governor of the Bank of Japan repeated his vow to ramp up monetary easing, while the dollar was also given a boost by strong jobs data.

In morning Tokyo trade, the greenback bought 96.15 yen, against 95.97 yen in New York late Friday, while the euro also strengthened at 125.00 yen from 124.83 yen.

Against the dollar, the euro fetched $1.2995 from $1.3004, as markets look ahead to a batch of eurozone economic data this week and after Fitch downgraded Italy's debt rating, citing political instability.

Haruhiko Kuroda, a finance veteran and the government's choice to head the Bank of Japan, said under his stewardship the BoJ would move to meet a two-percent inflation target that policymakers adopted in January.

"Since monetary easing actions so far haven't been sufficient, (I) will take every measure possible to achieve a two-percent target if approved as governor," Kuroda told a parliamentary confirmation hearing.

However, he threw cold water on talk of buying foreign bonds, effectively an easing measure as it would require selling huge amounts of yen to purchase the foreign-denominated debt.

Such purchases, which are conducted by the finance ministry and not the central bank, would likely push the value of the yen down further and aggravate months-long criticism from abroad that Tokyo was devaluing the unit to help exporters.

The dollar was also supported after the US Labor Department last week reported 236,000 jobs were generated in February and the US unemployment rate fell to a four-year low of 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent in January.

Forex markets were looking for the greenback to notch up further gains on the Japanese currency after it jumped about a yen in New York on Friday, dealers said.

"With the US economy looking like it's on a firm recovery track, investors are pricing in a dollar-yen target of 98-100," SMBC Friend Securities Head of investment and research Fumiyuki Nakanishi told Dow Jones Newswires.

pb/dan

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130310/yen-under-pressure-boj-nominees-comments