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Yen breaks 130 per dollar to sit at seven-month high

TOKYO (AFP) – The yen rose to a seven-month high against the dollar yesterday, breaking the 130 mark and building on a rally sparked by the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) decision to move away from its long-standing ultra-loose monetary policy.

The unit strengthened to 129.52 per dollar at one point before easing slightly, and analysts tipped it to continue advancing as the BoJ changes tack with a shift out of negative interest rates tipped to be in the pipeline.

That comes as the United States Federal Reserve and other central banks look to slow down the pace of interest rate hikes implemented over the past year to fight decades-high inflation.

The BoJ said last month it would loosen its grip on yields and allow those on certain government bonds to move in a wider band.

The announcement saw the yen surge by the most in three decades. It is now at its strongest level since June, having hit a 32-year low close to 152 per dollar as recently as October.

A bank teller counting 10,000 yen bank notes in Tokyo. PHOTO: AFP

Now, it is seen pushing even higher.

“The yen’s current level is significantly undervalued, even after the recent rally,” said Rajeev De Mello at GAMA Asset Management.

“I would expect an end to (the BoJ’s) negative rates by April. This further removes obstacles for the yen to strengthen more.”

The yen’s sharp rise was also spurred by fewer participants in the market at the beginning of the new year, brokers said.

SPI Asset Management’s Stephen Innes told AFP: “Into the holiday forex traders bought yen as a hedge in case there were some hints of BoJ policy announcement. This has picked

“The latest move is getting generated because the market is raising the odds of a material shift in BoJ policy.”