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FOREX-Dollar gains versus yen with US-Japan summit seen to have ended smoothly
February 13, 2017 / 12:01 AM / 10 months ago

FOREX-Dollar gains versus yen with US-Japan summit seen to have ended smoothly

* Dollar/yen hits 9-day high, euro/dollar near 3-1/2-wk low

* Relief as currencies not high on U.S.-Japan summit agenda

* Dollar resumes rise on tax reform hopes

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - The dollar gained against the yen early on Monday, with the market breathing a sigh of relief as the closely watched two-day U.S.-Japan summit held over the weekend was seen to have ended smoothly.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared to have established a quick friendship through a hug, a prolonged handshake and rounds of golf, allaying investor fears of the meeting ending acrimoniously with Trump talking tough on trade, currency and security issues.

The dollar index against a basket of major currencies was up 0.15 percent at 100.940, close to a near two-week high of 101.010 reached on Friday when pledges of “phenomenal” tax reforms by Trump had boosted the greenback.

The dollar was up 0.65 percent at 113.910 yen, briefly touching a nine-day high of 113.950.

“There is relief that the summit ended without confrontation, and that the joint statement did not directly touch upon currencies issues,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Mizuho Securities.

There was concern prior to the summit that Trump would reiterate accusations that Japan was one of several countries devaluing their currencies to the disadvantage of the United States.

“While the outcome of the U.S.-Japan summit itself is not a huge dollar boosting factor, the currency continues to receive firm support from expectations towards Trump’s ‘phenomenal’ tax plans,” Yamamoto said.

Trump said his administration will be announcing “something phenomenal in terms of tax” over “the next two or three weeks” during a meeting with airline executives on Thursday.

The president’s comments increased risk appetite, sending Wall Street shares to record highs, in turn lifting U.S. Treasury yields from multi-week lows to the dollar’s advantage.

The market’s mear-term focus was on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s congressional testimony scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, with investors keen to gauge her stance after the central bank upgraded its inflation views earlier this month.

The euro was down 0.2 percent at $1.0623, dipping close to Friday’s 3-1/2-week low of $1.0608.

The Australian dollar was down 0.1 percent at $0.7669 and the New Zealand dollar also shed 0.1 percent, to $0.7192. (Editing by Richard Pullin)

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