FOREX-Yen firmer but still shaky; focus shifts to ECB meeting

Wed Dec 4, 2013 10:17pm EST
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* Yen holding off five-year trough vs euro

* Euro in slim range vs USD ahead of ECB policy decision

* Markets also cautious as U.S. payrolls loom

By Ian Chua and Masayuki Kitano

SYDNEY/SINGAPORE, Dec 5 (Reuters) - The yen nudged away from a five-year trough on the euro and a six-month low versus the dollar on Thursday, but the moves lacked conviction as investors held their bets ahead of key events, including crucial U.S. jobs data.

The dollar eased 0.1 percent to 102.25 yen, having earlier this week risen as high as 103.38, while the euro slipped 0.2 percent to 138.89, still not too far from a five-year peak of 140.03 scaled on Tuesday.

Traders said the downtrend in the yen remained intact thanks to the Bank of Japan's ultra-loose monetary policy and expectations that it will provide even more stimulus next year.

Adding to the pressure on the safe-haven yen were expectations for a fairly nerveless year-end compared to the last few years, when markets were rattled by the euro zone's debt crisis and the U.S. fiscal cliff, said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore.

"There is very little of the type of year-end fear that had been present the last few years, with regard to Japan, the United States and Europe," Okagawa said.   Continued...