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Greenback softens below ¥82.50

JIJI

The dollar eased below ¥82.50 in Tokyo trading Friday amid a wait-and-see mood ahead of the release later in the day of a key U.S. employment report.

At 5 p.m., the dollar was quoted at ¥82.36-36, down from ¥82.42-43 at the same time Thursday. The euro was at $1.2936-2937, down from $1.3048-3050, and at ¥106.54-61, down from ¥107.54-57.

The dollar firmed somewhat versus the yen in early trading on the back of lingering expectations for the Bank of Japan to take additional monetary easing steps, and moved in a tight band against the Japanese currency for most of the day in the dearth of fresh trading incentives before falling in late trading in line with the euro’s weakness.

While the recent decline in U.S. long-term Treasury yields weighed on the greenback, North Korea’s planned launch of a suspected long-range ballistic missile dented investors’ risk appetite.

After the government ordered the Self-Defense Forces on Friday to destroy North Korea’s rocket or debris from it if it breaks up over Japanese territory, “market participants are increasingly aware of geopolitical risks (in East Asia) and are unlikely to take a risk-on stance,” said Rikiya Takebe of Okasan Online Securities Co.

Currency players were also sitting on the fence as they awaited U.S. jobs data for November. The market’s consensus is for an increase of 93,000 in nonfarm payrolls in the reporting month, a slowdown from a preliminary rise of 171,000 reported in the previous month.

“There is a risk that the reading may fall short of projections due to the impact of Hurricane Sandy,” said an analyst of a bank-affiliated brokerage.