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Dollar tops 102 yen mark

May 12, 2013 at 11:55 PM   |   Comments

TOKYO, May 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. dollar crossed the 102 level against the Japanese yen early Monday in Tokyo, sending the Nikkei Stock Average to its highest in more than five years.

The greenback, which topped the 100-yen mark last Thursday in New York for the first time since April 2009, maintained its upward momentum by going over 102 yen in early trading Monday in Tokyo.

It was the dollar's highest point against the yen since Oct. 21, 2008, Nikkei.com reported.

Investors on the Tokyo Stock Exchange welcomed the development as a lower yen makes Japanese goods cheaper and thus helps boost its exports. The export-dependent Japanese economy, the third-largest in the world behind the United States and China, has been trapped in chronic deflation for years and the government and the Japanese central bank have introduced numerous stimulus measures for an economic recovery.

On the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the benchmark Nikkei-225 index crossed the 14,700 level for the first time since Jan. 4, 2008, soaring 1.55 percent or 226 points to 14,833 points. The dollar's rise to 102 yen was lifting the stocks of Japanese exporters, including Toyota Motor Corp. and Panasonic Corp.

Investors also remain optimistic about the U.S. economy. Among recent developments, the U.S. job market has been showing strength with the number of Americans filing for jobless benefits falling to a five-year low last week.

The Financial Times reported earlier that the yen's decline in recent months already have pushed up the profits of Japan's exporters.

A lower yen also will help push Japan's inflation higher, which is needed to lift the country's economy out of its years of falling prices.

One analyst told CNNMoney last week the yen could dip to 105 against the U.S. dollar as central banks in many countries cut interest rates.

South Korea, the fourth-largest economy in Asia, last Thursday joined the European Central Bank and other central banks in cutting its benchmark interest rates, the first such cut in seven months. All such steps create demand for U.S. dollars, the analyst told CNNMoney

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