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Yen steadies but set for weekly loss on stimulus talk
[SINGAPORE] The yen eased versus the dollar on Friday and was on track for steep losses for the week, under pressure from improving risk sentiment and speculation that Japanese policymakers could adopt more radical monetary stimulus.
The dollar edged up 0.1 per cent to 105.46 yen, after having set a three-week high of 105.935 yen on Thursday. The dollar has gained about 4.8 per cent versus the yen so far this week.
The yen has been dogged this week by speculation that Japan might resort to providing "helicopter money", which would involve the central bank taking steps to directly finance government spending.
While the yen has managed to regain some footing after government and central bank officials directly involved in policymaking said there is no chance that Japan will resort to"helicopter money", traders will be keeping close eyes on any fresh news on this topic.
"Any headlines related to Japanese policies will need to be watched closely," said Shinichiro Kadota, FX strategist for Barclays, adding that moves in dollar/yen will likely remain sensitive to any such headlines.
The risk-sensitive Australian dollar eased against the yen, following reports that an attacker killed at least 73 people and injured scores when he drove a truck at high speed into a crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks in the French Riviera city of Nice late on Thursday.
The Australian dollar last traded at 80.27 yen, down 0.1 per cent on the day, and slipped to as low as 79.91 yen earlier on Friday.
Against the dollar, the Aussie slipped 0.2 per cent to US$0.7617.
A near-term focus for the Aussie, which is regarded as a liquid proxy for bets on China's economy, is China's second-quarter gross domestic product data and economic activity indicators for June, due at 0200 GMT.
Sterling rose 0.5 per cent to $1.3415, after having risen 1.5 per cent on Thursday as the Bank of England (BoE) kept interest rates on hold, wrong-footing many investors who had expected a rate cut following Britain's shock vote on June 23 to leave the European Union.
Expectations that the BOE will ease policy soon, however have helped temper gains in sterling, which remains below a two-week high of US$1.3480 touched on Thursday.