* Yen near high since late Aug amid BOJ doubt
* Deputy Governor Nakaso's speech in focus
By Hideyuki Sano
TOKYO, Sept 8 The yen held on to its recent
gains on Thursday as markets looked ahead to a speech by Bank of
Japan Deputy Governor later in the day for clues on what the
central bank might do at its policy review later this month.
The yen rose to 101.20 to the dollar on Wednesday,
hitting its highest level since Aug. 26 and last stood at
101.68, having risen 2.1 percent so far this week as the dollar
lost momentum on soft U.S. economic data.
The dollar has been under pressure since Friday's slightly
disappointing jobs report and a surprisingly soft service sector
survey on Tuesday cast doubt about the Federal Reserve's ability
to raise interest rates soon despite hawkish rhetoric from Fed
Moreover, investors have been bracing for a potentially
underwhelming policy announcement from the Bank of Japan on Sept
21, when it is expected to unveil the results of a comprehensive
policy review it promised in July.
While many investors expect the BOJ to announce additional
easing steps, there is no clear consensus on what the BOJ will
do given the widespread belief in markets that the BOJ's
stimulus is reaching near its practical limit.
Traders are now looking to a speech by BOJ Deputy Governor
Hiroshi Nakaso at 0430 GMT.
The euro was steady as investors also looked to whether the
European Central Bank would decide to extend its asset purchase
programme and tweak the parameters to ease supply scarcity
issues, at its policy meeting later in the day.
On top of this, the ECB's bond buying is also facing an
increasing hurdle because the pool of bonds, especially German
Bunds, it can buy is dwindling.
"I suspect they will try to dispel the notion that its
easing is near limit. But I'm not sure it is ready to take an
action today," said Ayako Sera, market economist at Sumitomo
Mitsui Trust Bank.
The euro edged down to $1.1242 from Wednesday's high
Elsewhere, the New Zealand dollar held at $0.7454
after having hit a 16-month high of $0.7485, supported by strong
prices of dairy, a major export earner.
In Asia, Chinese trade data will be a big focus as investors
try to gauge the extent of the slowdown in the world's second
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)