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Greenback firmer above ¥97.30

JIJI

The dollar was firmer mostly above ¥97 in Tokyo trading Wednesday, thanks to buybacks in line with a rise in stock prices.

At 5 p.m., the dollar stood at ¥97.32-33, up from ¥97.08-10 at the same time Tuesday. The euro was at $1.3527-3527, down from $1.3570-3571, and at ¥131.64-67, down from ¥131.75-82.

After moving around ¥96.80-90 in early trading, the dollar rose above ¥97 thanks to purchases from real demand-backed players and buybacks on the back of a rebound in Tokyo stocks.

The dollar gradually extended gains and climbed to near ¥97.50 at one point in the afternoon, supported by a further rise of Tokyo stocks.

“The dollar attracted buybacks after news that U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said the government shutdown will end soon,” an official at a foreign exchange broker said.

In addition, the U.S. currency apparently drew support from news that U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen is set to be nominated as successor to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, an official of a major Japanese bank said.

Many market players took the news about Yellen in stride. A bank official said it wasn’t a surprise, but her likely nomination provided a sense of comfort to the market because she is expected to continue the Fed’s current monetary policy.

The dollar remained range-bound below ¥97.50 for the rest of Tokyo trading hours due to lack of progress in talks to break the U.S. congressional gridlock over fiscal problems, market sources said.

With no signs of an early end to the U.S. fiscal stalemate, “the dollar was unable to top ¥97.50,” the bank official said.