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Yen gains in Asia on investor caution

TOKYO – The yen climbed against the dollar and euro on Monday after hitting five-year lows last week, but analysts said the rebound will likely only be short-lived.
In morning Tokyo trade, the dollar bought ¥104.30, compared with ¥104.85 in New York Friday, and well off the mid-¥105 range seen on December 30 ¥ the greenback's strongest level since October 2008.
The euro also slipped to ¥141.70 from ¥142.44 in the United States, after hitting ¥145.69 last Monday – also its best since October 2008. The single currency also fetched $1.3582, against $1.3586.
Tokyo's big-spending and easy money policies, aimed at kickstarting the Japanese economy, helped send the yen down by about one-quarter against the dollar since late 2012, while the euro has also benefited from an improvement in the eurozone outlook.
The weaker dollar and profit-taking sent Tokyo's Nikkei-225 stock index down 2.18 percent by the break.
"We're seeing some risk-off yen buying at the moment as the Nikkei falls, but the general momentum for the (dollar to the yen) should still be up," Junichi Ishikawa, market analyst at IG Securities in Tokyo, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Investors will be keeping a close eye on US payrolls data at the end of the week after the Federal Reserve's announcement last month that it would cut its bond buying program by $10 billion to $75 billion a month in January.
The pullback had hinged on a signs of a firm recovery in the world's biggest economy, and there is now speculation that the Fed may announce a further reduction at its January meeting.
The European Central Bank and Bank of England are also due to hold policy meetings while the minutes of the Fed's most recent meeting are due Wednesday.
"Looking ahead to this week, central bank actions will gather most of the limelight," Credit Agricole said.
"Investors will be scrutinizing the December (Fed meeting) minutes for more clues on the pace of further reduction in asset purchases going forward.
"We currently look for another $10 billion reduction to $65 billion to be announced in the January...meeting," it added.
Policymakers in England and at the ECB are expected to stand pat on policy moves, amid speculation that the Bank of Japan may soon expand its huge monetary easing drive as investors look to key inflation data and the BoJ's first policy meeting for 2014 later this month. – Agence France-Presse