30 October 2001, 11:41  Dollar locked in upper half of 121 yen level

TOKYO, Oct. 30 (Kyodo) - By: Kakumi Kobayashi The U.S. dollar was almost unchanged against the yen Tuesday as many market players were reluctant to trade aggressively before the release later this week of key U.S. economic indicators. At 5 p.m., the dollar traded at 121.80-82 yen, compared with Monday's 5 p.m. quotes of 121.85-95 yen in New York and 122.42-44 yen in Tokyo. During the day, the dollar moved between 121.80 yen and 122.02 yen, changing hands most frequently at 121.95 yen. The euro, meanwhile, was quoted at $0.9062-9065 and 110.39-43 yen, compared with $0.9045-9055 and 110.25-35 yen at 5 p.m. Monday in New York. "Few players could find a breakthrough for the whole day," said Shoichi Sakato, a dealer at Toyo Trust & Banking Co. In spite of the overnight dollar fall, the U.S. currency kept fluctuating in an extremely narrow range against the yen because there was a lack of strong incentives, dealers said. "The dollar's tight move did not mean trading was generally thin but instead that there were few players leading a large market move," said Yutaka Kawazoe, director of foreign exchange trading at Barclays Bank in Tokyo. Key U.S. economic indicators will be announced later in the week, particularly several that will reflect the impact of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The indicators include October job data and the July-September U.S. gross domestic product, which has been indicating quarterly growth for more than 10 years. On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a fresh warning that new terrorist attacks might occur over the next week, referring to "credible" threats. But market players showed an almost muted response. "As long as such kind of comments come out individually, they are not likely to become quick market incentives," Kawazoe said, "even though concerns about fresh crises still cloud prospects for the United States." Participants also reacted quietly to a remark earlier in the day by Japanese Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa, who hinted at the possibility of a currency intervention.

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