/

Greenback briefly nears ¥84 mark

JIJI

The dollar extended its gains and briefly approached ¥84 in Tokyo trading Friday, thanks to growing expectations of additional monetary easing by the Bank of Japan after Sunday’s general election.

After rising above ¥83.90, the U.S. currency stood at ¥83.66-67 at 5 p.m., up from ¥83.51-52 at the same time Thursday. The euro was at $1.3110-3111, up from $1.3085-3087, and at ¥109.68-70, up from ¥109.28-30.

The dollar drew buying in early trading, with the yen pressured by speculation that the BOJ will be urged to launch aggressive monetary easing by the new government formed after the House of Representatives poll.

“Since the Liberal Democratic Party is expected to win the election by a landslide, the prospects of growing pressure on the BOJ for further easing are apparently prompting yen-selling,” an official at a major Japanese bank said. LDP chief Shinzo Abe has repeatedly called for powerful monetary easing.

“The speculation is giving overseas investors a good excuse to sell the yen, and the greenback attracted purchases at low levels,” said Takuya Kanda of Gaitame.com Research Institute.

The dollar also attracted demand after the release of the BOJ’s “tankan” quarterly corporate confidence survey for December.

The closely watched index for large manufacturers’ current business conditions stood at minus 12, down from minus 3 in the previous survey and deteriorating for the second straight quarter.

“The tankan turned out to be weak,” Kengo Suzuki of Mizuho Securities Co. said. “The results are expected to put pressure on the BOJ to take more easing steps and, therefore, work as a yen-selling factor.”