15 October 2001, 13:19  Dollar down against yen in Tokyo with players cautious

TOKYO, Oct. 15 (Kyodo) - By: Kakumi Kobayashi The U.S. dollar drifted below 121.00 yen in quiet Tokyo trading Monday, with players sitting on the sidelines weighing the risks of a further decline in the U.S. currency due to possible new terrorist attacks as U.S.-led air strikes in Afghanistan continued. At 5 p.m., the dollar was quoted at 120.96-99 yen, down from 121.05-15 yen at 5 p.m. Friday in New York and 121.32-35 yen late Friday in Tokyo. During the day, the dollar moved between 120.85 yen and 121.15 yen, trading most frequently at 121.05 yen. "The dollar-yen rate hardly moved throughout the day," said Takashi Fujieda, assistant foreign exchange manager at Yasuda Trust & Banking Co. There were a number of conflicting factors that players could trade on. Fears of bioterrorism in the United States amid a mounting number of anthrax cases dragged on the dollar, while a series of Japanese economic data highlighting further deceleration pushed down the yen. Players responded coolly to a 21.7% plunge in Japan's current account surplus in August from a year earlier, the Bank of Japan's further downgrade of the nation's economic assessment for October, and a 4.4% year-to-year rise in corporate bankruptcies in September. "By late last week, the dollar recuperated its lost ground after the launch of military action in Afghanistan. But it now appears players were cautiously watching out for fresh terrorist attacks," Fujieda said. Chase Manhattan Bank's senior foreign exchange market analyst Minori Takeuchi said the grim Japanese statistics Monday came as no surprise to players. Yasuda Trust's Fujieda expects the dollar will be top-heavy this week as concerns over fresh terrorist attacks continue to linger. Meanwhile, the euro traded at $0.9104-9107 and 110.14-18 yen compared with $0.9110-9120 and 110.35-45 yen at 5 p.m. Friday in New York.

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