Source AP ©

Drop in Japanese jobless rate lifts yen against the dollar

The dollar fell against the yen in Asia Tuesday after a drop in Japan's unemployment rate fanned speculation about higher Japanese interest rates and caused some players to scale back yen-carry trade positions.

The U.S. dollar was trading at 121.40 yen at 2:50 p.m. (0550 GMT) Tuesday, down from 121.68 yen late Monday in Tokyo. The euro fell to US$1.3444 from US$1.3452.

Japan's jobless rate fell to a nine-year low of 3.8 percent in April, the government said, heightening expectations the Bank of Japan will increase rates in July or August, causing yields on both short- and long-term Japanese government bonds to rise.

The prospect of higher Japanese interest rates unsettled currency speculators, who ditched some yen-carry trade positions they had taken to bet on the dollar and the euro, traders said.

The euro fell three-fourths of a yen to an intraday low of 162.95 yen.

"The robust employment data hoisted yen interest rates, helping rate differentials to narrow and prompting players to unwind yen-carry trades," said Osao Iizuka, head of foreign-exchange trading at Sumitomo Trust & Banking.

The dollar was mixed against other Asian currencies, rising to 40.460 Indian rupees from 40.410 and to 8,770 Indonesian rupiah from 8,743. It fell to 927.6 South Korean won from 928.8.

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