February 14, 2018 / 1:01 AM / a year ago

FOREX-Dollar clings above 5-mth lows vs yen as recovery in risk sentiment holds

* Dollar/yen crawls back from 5-mth lows as Japan stocks bounce

* US inflation data awaited for near-term cues

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - The dollar clung above a five-month low against the yen on Wednesday, its slide halted as a recovery in broader risk sentiment remained intact for the time being.

Recent swings in risk sentiment have been a key driver of currencies and investors now await U.S. January inflation data due at 1330 GMT, with the indicator seen either upsetting the equity market’s fragile recovery or clearing the way for additional gains.

Wall Street shares slumped from record highs scaled late in January after Treasury yields rose to four-year highs, largely because of inflation worries.

Seasonally adjusted U.S. consumer price index data is expected to show inflation of 0.3 percent in January versus 0.1 percent in December.

The U.S. currency was flat at 107.820 yen after dropping to as low as 107.400 overnight, when a slide in Japanese shares increased demand for the yen which is often sought in times of market turmoil.

The dollar pulled itself back, however, as U.S. shares managed to gain for the third successive session on Tuesday following last week’s sharp downturn. Encouraged by the Wall Street’s bounce, Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.45 percent on Wednesday to lend the dollar further support.

Near-term focus was on whether dollar/yen could hold above 107.320, as a drop below that level would take the greenback to its lowest since November 2016 and clear the path for further losses.

“Dollar/yen has managed to stay above 107.320 for the time being but a fall beneath that would accelerate its losses towards 106,” said Yukio Ishizuki, senior forex strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.

“Trend-following macro funds see the yen appreciating further. There are no fresh factors, but for speculators, anything that appears yen-supportive is welcome, even in hindsight.”

The dollar’s fall against the yen comes against the currency’s broader weakening against a number of peers.

The U.S. currency attracted demand during the global market tumult seen earlier this month, although it had fallen to a three-year low against a basket of currencies in January.

The dollar was weighed by factors including the prospect of the United States pursuing a weak dollar strategy and other countries normalising their monetary policy.

The dollar index against a group of six major currencies stood little changed at 89.728 after dropping nearly 0.6 percent overnight.

The euro was steady at $1.2352 following gains of 0.4 percent the previous day.

The Australian dollar was 0.05 percent higher at $0.7865 and the New Zealand dollar gained 0.1 percent to $0.7282. (Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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