Euro hits record high against yen in Asian trading

The euro soared to a record high against the yen in Asian trading Monday after Group of Eight finance ministers didn't discuss the beleaguered Japanese currency during their weekend talks, making traders feel safe selling the yen.

The euro rose as high as 163.94 yen, a new record, before slipping back to 163.87 yen.

The U.S. dollar was trading at 121.26 yen midafternoon Monday, up from 121.15 yen late Friday in New York. The euro rose to US$1.3514 from US$1.3505.

Looking ahead, traders said that because events scheduled for this week are unlikely to bolster the yen, the euro may clear the psychologically important 164.00 yen and rise toward 165.00 yen by the end of Friday.

"Recent trading has shown that even if you buy the yen, it won't rise, as there are people waiting to sell it," such as Japanese importers and investors, said Satoshi Okagawa, head of foreign-exchange forward trading at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

Monday's yen-selling was partly traceable to finance ministers from the G-8 leading economies, who met in Germany Friday and Saturday but left currency issues untouched.

European, U.S. and Japanese short-term players took that as an official green light to sell the yen. Those speculators, along with Japanese importers buying overseas currencies to settle trades, pushed the euro to an all-time high and also the dollar.

"The European economy is just very strong for now," which may have dispelled concerns among European policy-makers about the impact of the rising euro on the region's exports, said Hideaki Inoue, chief currency manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking.

Against other currencies, the dollar was mixed. It rose to 40.605 Indian rupees, while falling to 8,765 Indonesian rupiah.

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