Yen gains most in eight months on weakness warning

The yen rose the most since May versus the dollar as Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari said an excessively weak currency may hurt imports and households, damping expectations policy makers will try to push it down further.

Japan’s currency gained for the first time in five days against the dollar on bets its drop to the weakest level since June 2010 was excessive. The Swiss franc slid to a 13-month low versus the euro as signs Europe’s debt crisis is easing cut demand for the currency as a haven. South Africa’s rand fell after Anglo American Platinum Ltd. said it will cut output.

“Amari’s comments introduced the possibility that the government may be a bit concerned about the pace of the decline of the yen,” Brian Daingerfield, a currency strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc’s RBS Securities unit in Stamford, Connecticut. “A signal coming from Japanese officials that maybe the yen is weakening too quickly is something that might give the market a bit of pause.”

The yen appreciated 0.7% to 88.90 per dollar at 10:40 a.m. in New York and gained as much as 1.3%, the biggest intraday jump since May 17. It slid to 89.67 yesterday, the weakest level since June 25, 2010. Japan’s currency rallied 1% to 118.53 per euro. The dollar gained 0.4% to $1.3333 per euro.

Krone, Rand

Norway’s krone and South Africa’s rand were the biggest losers among the greenback’s 16 most-traded counterparts.

The krone fell after central bank Deputy Governor Jan F. Qvigstad signaled a persistent strength in the currency would influence the bank’s next rate decision in March. It dropped 1.2% to 5.5701 per dollar.

The rand weakened after Anglo American Platinum said it will shut four shafts, putting 14,000 jobs at risk and fueling concern South Africa’s current-account deficit will widen. The currency fell 1.2% to 8.7972 per dollar and touched 8.7975, the lowest since Dec. 5. Metals and other minerals accounted for 61% of South Africa’s exports in the first 11 months of 2012, according to government data.

The Swiss franc depreciated past 1.24 per euro for the first time since Dec. 7, 2011, as haven demand ebbed. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said Jan. 10 the euro-area economy will slowly return to health in 2013. The currency fell 0.4% to 1.2384 per euro and reached 1.2413.

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