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FOREX-Yen hits 2-month low versus dollar after Yellen hearing

Jessica Mortimer
Friday, 15 Nov 2013 | 4:16 AM ET

* Yen slides as dovish Yellen comments boost riskier assets

* Yen hits 2-month low versus dollar, 4-year low vs pound

* But impact on dollar limited, euro/dollar edges lower

* Yellen suggests U.S. stimulus to remain for now

LONDON, Nov 15 (Reuters) - The yen fell to a two-month low against the dollar and a four-year trough versus sterling on Friday after a robust defence of Federal Reserve stimulus from Chair nominee Janet Yellen, read as showing there would be no reduction any time soon.

A range of comment from Yellen before and during a confirmation hearing on Thursday sparked a rally on equity markets and denting the low-yielding yen, which typically falls when investors are looking to take on risk.

The dollar rose another 0.15 percent to 100.16 yen on Friday, having hit a two-month peak of 100.315, with the potential to target the Sept. 11 high of 100.62 yen. Sterling rose as high as 161.18 yen, its highest level since September 2009.

Options markets showed some investors betting on more dollar strength versus the yen in the weeks to come.

However, Yellen's more dovish comments failed to have much of a negative impact on the dollar against the currencies against which it has tended to suffer due to the flood of Fed liquidity in the banking system. Against a basket of currencies it was steady at 81.054.

"The dollar only reacted very moderately as Yellen signalled continuity," said George Saravelos, currency strategist at Deutsche Bank.

However, he said the remarks were enough to spark a rally in riskier assets and weigh on the yen.

"The underlying dynamics still favour the upside in dollar/yen," he said, adding the dollar could hit 105 yen by year-end.

The euro was down 0.05 percent at $1.3454, pulling back from a one-week high of $1.3499.

It remains under pressure from the disparity between the U.S. and European economies - underlined by weak euro zone GDP numbers on Thursday which kept alive the possibility of more central bank action to stimulate growth.

Whatever the Fed does, additional stimulus from it, by contrast, is not on the cards.

The euro also rose against the yen, however, hitting a two-week high of 135.01 yen.

"The yen can only go down now ... With the world's major central banks all having a dovish bias, we are going to see a rally in risk assets," said a trader at a Japanese bank.