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FOREX-Traders on intervention watch as yen hits 150, pound gains as Truss resigns

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(Adds quotes, details; updates prices; changes byline, dateline; previous LONDON) * Graphic: World FX rates By Karen Brettell NEW YORK, Oct 20 (Reuters) – The dollar hit the symbolic level of 150 yen for the first time since 1990 on Thursday, while the British pound rose as Liz Truss said she would resign as prime minister. The fragile yen briefly weakened past 150 per dollar for the first time since August 1990. It was last trading at 149.76 yen per dollar. The Japanese currency sharply dipped from a high of 150.09, tumbling to 149.63 within a minute, which has again raised speculation that the Ministry of Finance and Bank of Japan might be making stealth interventions at key levels. However, some analysts think that interventions, especially small ones, may not stop the currency from weakening further absent a shift in the Bank of Japan’s ultra-dovish policy. “Until you see either the BOJ change their tune, or if we start to see the US economic outlook deteriorate a lot quicker that will help the Fed finally deliver that Fed pivot, you’re going to see that the bet against the yen is still the favorite trade in FX,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York. The Federal Reserve is expected to continue raising interest rates as inflation remains stubbornly high, with some forecasting a peak above 5%. This has sent US yields and the dollar higher, particularly against the yen as the Bank of Japan is committed to keeping interest rates near zero. Japanese policymakers made fresh threats of intervention on Thursday. They are seen as more likely to step in if currency moves become more erratic. “The (Ministry of Finance) has been very clear that they are ready to intervene if there is any disorderly price action, so the markets are priced for that coming at some point in time,” said Derek Halpenny, head of research, global markets EMEA at MUFG. “Obviously, if we break clearly above 150 we may see some disorderly price action and that could be the catalyst for some action,” he added, though emphasizing it would take a sharp move in the pair to trigger intervention. The BOJ will hold its next policy meeting on Oct. 27-28. The British pound was higher on the day after Liz Truss said she would resign as prime minister, brought down by her economic program that sent shockwaves through the markets and divided her Conservative Party just six weeks after she was appointed. “Initially, this is likely to take an uncertainty premium out of the market but it depends who takes over, you need a steady hand at the top,” said Viraj Patel, global macro strategist at Vanda Research in London. The pound rallied ahead of the announcement, before paring gains and then again moving higher. It was last up 63% on the day at $1.1293. The dollar index dipped 0.50% against a basket of major currencies to 112.40, which analysts said was likely due to consolidation. The euro gained 0.46% to $0.9817. ================================================ ====== Currency bid prices at 10:17AM (1417 GMT) Description RIC Last US Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid Previous Change Session Dollar index 112.4000 112.9800 -0.50% 17.496% +113.0900 +112.2700 Euro / Dollar $0.9817 $ 0.9772 +0.46% -13.65% +$ 0.9837 +$ 0.9755 dollar/yen 149.7600 149.9100 -0.10% +30.10% +150.0700 +149.6300 Euro/yen 147.02 146.49 +0.36% +12.81% 9.84% +1.0068 +1.0008 Sterling/Dollar $1.1293 $1.1223 +0.63% -16.49% +$1.1306 +$1.1172 Dollar/Canadian 1.3673 1.3762 -0.63% +8.16% +1.3806 +1.3669 Aussie/Dollar $0.6336 $0.6271 +1.08% -12.81% +$0.6339 + $0.6229 Euro/Swiss 0.9832 0.9816 +0.16% -5.18% +0.9847 +0.9812 Euro/Sterling 0.8691 0.8710 -0.22% +3.46% +0.8757 +0.8692 NZ $0.5724 $0.5677 +0.90% -16.32% +$0.5726 +$0.5624 Dollar/Dollar Dollar/Norway 10.5795 10.6315 +0.00% +20.68% +10.6490 +10.5700 Euro/Norway 10.3842 10.3666 +0.17% +3.71% +10.4134 +10.3585 Dollar/Sweden 1 1.1856 11.2076 +0.25% +24.04% +11.2502 +11.1647 Euro/Sweden 10.9820 10.9549 +0.25% +7.26% +10.9960 +10.9515 (Additional reporting by Alun John and Samuel Indyk in London, Editing by William Maclean)