Tuesday, April 12, 2016

FOREX-Renewed risk appetite pushes yen off 1-1/2-year peak

* Japanese currency slips as risk appetite recovers

* Commodity currencies climb

* Dollar index approaches 7-1/2-month low

LONDON, April 12 (Reuters) - The safe-haven yen fell from a 1-1/2-year high against the dollar on Tuesday, while commodity-linked currencies climbed, as a rise in oil prices whetted investors' appetite for riskier assets across financial markets.

The Japanese currency had its strongest start to a year since 2008 in the first quarter as shaky global markets boosted demand for the traditional safe-haven currency. It has gained some 12 percent against the dollar since late January.

Those gains prompted Japanese officials to warn on Monday that the yen moves were "one-sided and speculative" and that the government stood ready to intervene to weaken the currency.

But with oil prices holding well above $40 per barrel on Tuesday and risk appetite on the rise, the yen needed no such intervention to drive it lower. It slipped quarter of a percent to 108.20 per dollar.

Against most other currencies, though, the dollar was on the defensive, in particular those that move in sync with oil prices. It hit an almost-six-month low against the Norwegian crown and also fell towards a six-month low against the Canadian dollar.

"Oil prices holding above $40 a barrel overnight has got the dollar on the back foot, more than anything else, so we have the yen and the dollar at the bottom, and everything else at the top," said Kit Juckes, macro strategist at Societe Generale in London.

"I think dollar/yen will get back to 120 at some point - we might want to sell it again there, but I think this move is way overdone," he added.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, edged down 0.1 percent, towards a 7-1/2-month low of 93.748 hit on Monday. The index has shed nearly 3 percent since Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen threw doubt on expectations that U.S. interest rates would be increased twice this year.

Fed funds futures <0#FF:> imply barely one quarter point increase for the whole of 2016, with only about a 20 percent chance of a hike in June priced in.

"Since the previous Group of 20 meeting in February, there's a perception that there's a political agreement between the United States and China that a strong dollar is not desirable," said a trader at a U.S. bank in Tokyo.

"In light of this, monetary easing in Europe and Japan has limited power," he said.

The euro, which touched a six-month high of $1.1454 last Thursday, was trading close to that peak at $1.1422, up 0.1 percent on the day.

(Additional reporting by Ian Chua in Sydney and Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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