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Last Updated: Friday, 9 January, 2004, 14:38 GMT
Bad news scuppers dollar recovery
EURO SOARS AGAINST DOLLAR
When the jobs data were announced at 1330 GMT, the euro soared against the dollar

The US dollar has slumped to a new low against the euro on poor US jobs data.

The plunge came hours after the dollar rallied against the yen on reports of a massive market intervention by the Bank of Japan.

The dollar fell from its day high of 108 yen back to 106, while one euro bought as much as $1.2840.

Japan has intervened massively in money markets in a bid to stop the yen rising against the dollar and jeopardizing the country's export-led recovery.

Traders suspected Japan had spent up to three trillion yen ($28.25bn) on Monday and Tuesday in a bid to shore up the greenback.

Naomi Fink , senior currency analyst at BNP Paribas said: "If that's the case, the intervention (on Friday) must have been massive... it's hard to tell if they put in 1 trillion, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was over 500bn."

But when the jobs data were released at 1330 GMT, all the hard-won gains evaporated.

Dollar doldrums

Meanwhile, the US dollar's slide to multi-year lows against various currencies has added incentive to buy oil, which is priced in dollars and so becomes cheaper for non-dollar investors.

As a result, US light crude prices hit a nine-month high during Asian trade, propelled by worries that a cold snap in America would draw down crude stocks that are already at their lowest since 1975.

The NYMEX February crude price rose as high as $34.40 a barrel, up 42 cents or 1.2 percent on the day, marking the highest price since March 18, 2003 - just before the Iraq war.

That jump came as the dollar - recently weighed down by concerns over a bulging US current account deficit - soared to its highest level against the yen since December 15.

Japanese recovery

The Ministry of Finance declined to comment on the apparent intervention, but a senior official did reiterate Tokyo's resolve to fight dollar bears in a bid to prevent a rising yen from hurting Japan's export-led economic recovery.

The yen has strengthened consistently against the US currency in much of the past year, by about 10%, because of demand from foreign investors to buy Japanese equities as the world's second-largest economy showed signs of life after years in the doldrums.





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