FOREX-Yen well off lows as BOJ meeting approaches
* Yen's upside seen capped as BOJ expected to ease on Tuesday
* Light U.S. trading expected as storm nears East Coast
TOKYO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - The yen got off on a slightly weak footing on Monday but was well off last week's lows, as investors looked past the Bank of Japan's expected easing steps and focused on U.S. economic factors.
At its meeting on Tuesday, the Bank of Japan is expected to further ease monetary policy and might make a stronger commitment to continue pumping in cash until its 1 percent inflation target is achieved, sources have said.
Central bankers broadly agree on the need to expand stimulus for the second straight month, most likely by increasing the BOJ's asset buying and lending programme by at least 10 trillion yen ($125 billion).
Ahead of the meeting, data on Friday showed currency speculators had raised their bets against the yen, with the market posting a net short position for the first time since May.
``BOJ easing expectations were a big factor for markets last week, but are not having much impact this week, with the likely outcome already factored in,'' said Masashi Murata, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo.
``There are still doubts about the strength of the U.S. economy, even after Friday's better-than-expected growth data, and until these worries are dispelled, the trend is unchanged and dollar/yen will likely stay in its recent range,'' he said.
Data on Friday showed U.S. GDP grew at a 2 percent annual rate in the third quarter, slightly above a 1.9 percent forecast, but still short of what economists believe is needed for a substantial rise in employment.
The U.S. government will release October's key nonfarm payrolls report next Friday. Analysts said the report influenced the outcome of the tight election contest between Republican
The dollar bought 79.73 yen, up about 0.1 percent from Friday's late New York levels, but well below Friday's four month high of 80.38 yen. The greenback remains well above its early October low of 77.79 yen, with support cited at its 200-day moving average, now at 79.51 yen.
Traders expect overnight activity might be thin as Hurricane Sandy is expected to slam into the U.S. East Coast on Monday night. Market participants in the New York area expect a light trading day on Monday - and possibly through Tuesday - with some U.S. markets closed, as some offices in lower Manhattan's Financial District are in an evacuation zone.
The euro bought 103.09 yen, up about 01.percent but well off a six-month peak of 104.59 yen reached on Oct. 23.
Against the dollar, the single currency fetched $1.2931 , well within its $1.2800/3200 range since mid-September.
Traders await Spain's request for a bailout, which would initiate the European Central Bank bond-buying programme and could push the euro out of its recent range.
Investors also kept a wary eye on Greece, after the country's opposition leader said his party would vote against an austerity package expected to go before parliament this week.
The Australian dollar fell 0.1 percent to $1.0364, holding above its Oct, 23 low of $1.0236 but moving away from its Oct. 18 peak of $1.0412. A break there would bring the September 14 high of $1.0625 in view.