TOKYO/SYDNEY Nov 2 The yen sagged to near a
four month-low on Friday while commodity currencies held solid
gains as investors bet on an upbeat U.S. payrolls report after
private employers added jobs at the fastest pace in eight
The euro was under pressure after a Greek court ruled the
country's pension reform demanded by foreign lenders may be
unconstitutional, raising concerns about Athens' ability to
implement austerity measures needed to secure bailout money.
U.S. payrolls processor Automatic Data Processing said
private employers added 158,000 workers last month, bolstering
hopes that a closely watched nonfarm payrolls report due 1230
GMT would also surprise on the upside.
That saw the yen come under broad pressure, and lit a fire
under commodity currencies like the New Zealand dollar.
The greenback bought 80.25 yen, up about 0.2 percent
from late U.S. levels, having powered to a high of 80.285, just
shy of last week's four-month high of 80.38.
A break of major resistance at 80.60-65, triple top marked
between May and June as well as a 50 percent retracement of its
decline from March to September, would be seen as a major
bullish signal on charts.
The yen has its own grief as well as recent Japanese data
and most corporate earning reports have been soft, and
third-quarter gross domestic product, due on Nov. 11, is also
likely to contract.
"The Japanese electronics industry is collapsing. Auto
exports to China will be falling sharply. So Japanese exporters'
dollar selling will be dwindling... There's no reason to be
bullish on the yen," said a trader at a Japanese brokerage.
The dollar's near-term focus is firmly on U.S. jobs. A
Reuters poll showed analysts expect a rise of 125,000 U.S.
nonfarm payrolls in October. The unemployment rate is seen
ticking up to 7.9 percent.
"More important will be the unemployment rate we think, and
whether the sharp fall in September, from 8.1 percent to 7.8
percent, is reversed," said Kiran Kowshik, strategist at BNP
"A print of 8.0 percent or above could weigh on USDJPY."
Still, Kowshik said market reaction to the jobs data will
probably lack conviction given the proximity of the Nov. 6 U.S.
Presidential election and the Nov. 8 Chinese Congress that will
usher in a new generation of leaders.
END OF CHINA SLOWDOWN?
Commodity currencies were big winners, with the Australian
dollar popping above $1.0400, flirting with the October
peak of $1.0412. A break there would pave the way for a retest
of the Sept. 28 high of $1.0474, then $1.0500.
Against the yen, it matched its August peak of 83.55 yen
The New Zealand dollar performed solidly as well, rising to
a one-month high of $0.8280.
They were helped by improvement in Chinese manufacturing
data on Thursday, which raised hopes the worst may be over in
Other U.S. data out on Thursday, including a drop in new
claims for jobless benefits and a sharp improvement in consumer
confidence, also underpinned risk appetite, which helped U.S.
stocks rise more than 1 percent.
Left out of the risk rally was the euro, which was
undermined by fresh worries about Greece.
The Court of Auditors in Greece, which vets Greek laws
before they are submitted to parliament, said measures such as
increasing the retirement age by two years to 67 and cutting
pensions by between 5 and 10 percent could be against the
The single currency slipped 0.1 percent in Asia to $1.2928
, and was down almost a full cent from this week's high of
$1.3021 ahead of a raft of manufacturing surveys from the likes
of Germany, France and Italy later in the day.
It remained well within the $1.2800-3200 range seen since