* U.S. presidential debate at 9:00 p.m. ET/0100 GMT Tues
* Turkey downgrade, OPEC meeting hurt risk sentiment (Updates to open of U.S. trading, changes byline, dateline; previous LONDON)
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK, Sept 26 (Reuters) - The dollar fell against the safe-haven yen on Monday after comments from a top Bank of Japan (BOJ) official reinforced views that the central bank was unable to weaken the yen, while an impending U.S. presidential debate stoked uncertainty.
BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said Monday the central bank stood ready to use every possible policy tool to achieve its 2 percent inflation target. He also said no big increase or decrease to its bond buying was expected for now.
The comments eased speculation that the BOJ was considering tapering asset purchases and supported a view that the BOJ was keeping in place a monetary policy that has only led the yen to strengthen.
The yen has gained more than 17 percent since the BOJ shocked markets in January by cutting rates below zero for the first time. The dollar was last down 0.5 percent against the yen at 100.47 yen after touching a session low of 100.34 yen.
“The BOJ is saying we’ll continue on the current path,” said Alfonso Esparza, senior currency strategist at Oanda in Toronto. “That means the yen at current levels will continue to strengthen.”
The yen also gained ahead of a U.S. presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump at 9 p.m. ET (0100 GMT on Tuesday), as well as Moody’s move to cut Turkey’s sovereign rating to “junk” on Friday and an uncertain outcome to an OPEC meeting.
Analysts said uncertainty over the impact of the U.S. presidential debate hurt the dollar since the nervousness was specific to the United States. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was last down 0.21 percent at 95.272.
“Most market participants are waiting to see what comes out of the debate tonight and will take their cue from there,” said Richard Scalone, co-head of foreign exchange at TJM Brokerage in Chicago.
The euro was last up 0.28 percent against the dollar at $1.1256 after hitting an 11-day high of $1.1269 earlier. The dollar was last up 0.46 percent against the Turkish lira at $2.9797 liras in the wake of the Turkey credit downgrade after hitting a seven-week high against the lira in early trade of $2.9981.
Editing by Bernadette Baum