The U.S. dollar/Japanese yen went past the 100 mark for the second time this year on Wednesday, but markets aren't cheering, which is in sharp contrast to the euphoria in May when the pair first crossed this key level.
"The yen at 100 is significant psychologically, but we're not going to get the hysterical cries for 120/130 yen to the dollar that we had before," said Patrick Bennett, forex strategist at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).
The yen hit 100.85 against the dollar in Asian trade on Wednesday, but analysts don't expect a rapid weakening from here in the months ahead.
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"We do expect the yen to go higher eventually, but it is likely to stay in the range of 95 to 105 to the dollar this year, and between 100 and 110 in 2014," said Bennett.
The CIBC analyst added that Japanese investors' reluctance to move their investments offshore was holding back the yen from weakening dramatically.
The yen has been one of the most talked about global currencies this year, amid its rapid depreciation against the dollar over the past nine months.
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's radical policies or "Abenomics" designed to overhaul Japan's flagging economy and end deflation, have worked to weaken the currency by 25 percent since mid-November, in a boost for the world's third largest economy's struggling export sector.
The yen first hit the psychologically important 100 to the dollar on May 9, its weakest level since mid-2008, leading analysts then to forecast that the seemingly unstoppable free-fall would take the currency to levels of around 130. However, after hovering between 100 and 102 for much of May, the currency saw some renewed strength in June, moving back up to around 94 to the dollar and raising doubts over whether the yen would continue on its weakening trend.
Nizim Idris, head of strategy, fixed income and currencies at Macquarie bank, has a target of 110 for the dollar/yen by the year-end.
According to Idris, recent weakness in the yen has been driven by the perception that Abe will likely win the elections to the upper house of parliament on July 21, giving legitimacy to his policies.
"A win at the upper house elections will increase his legitimacy and wriggle room in terms of what he can push through. It will legitimize 'Abenomics' ... we could get 105 to the dollar in the next few months on this," he added.
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