The dollar hit an eight-month trough against the yen on Wednesday, crawling towards its lowest level since 1995, as weak U.S. data and talk of the Federal Reserve embarking on further policy easing pushed down Treasury yields.
The dollar fell as low as 85.32 yen, its lowest since late November before inching back to 85.39 JPY=, down 0.5 percent on the day. A fall below a November low of 84.82 yen would take the pair to its lowest level in 15 years.
Hefty options barriers are seen set around 85 yen, meaning a drop in the dollar could pick up speed below that level.
Traders said a decline beyond the November level could open the way for the greenback to slide to an all-time low below 80 yen, hit 15 years ago.
Many now believe it is only a matter of time before the dollar posts a 15-year low, given the difference between U.S. and Japanese authorities' stances in their foreign exchange policies, analysts and traders said.
The biggest reason the dollar has fallen this much against the yen is that the United States clearly wants a weaker dollar, said Ayako Sera, market strategist at Sumitomo Trust & Banking.
Washington wants a weaker dollar as it would help the economy avoid deflation.
Some market players are speculating the Fed could further relax its policy at an August 10 meeting.
Meanwhile, traders doubt the Bank of Japan will adopt additional steps to further ease it policy at an Aug 9-10 meeting.
The market believes the BOJ has their hands tied with regards to intervention, said Tsutomu Soma, senior manager of the foreign securities department at Okasan Securities.
The yen is not yet very strong against other currencies besides the dollar, leaving the BOJ little to justify such action with.
The dollar index, a gauge of the greenback's performance against major currencies, was little changed at 80.630 .DXY, remaining below its 200-day moving average, now at 80.744.
It fell as low as 80.469 the previous day, dropping below its 200-day moving average for the first time since January, which analysts said signals further falls.
The index is threatening to revisit April lows at 80.031, while support lies at 79.724, the 61.8 percent retracement of its November to June rally.
Investors were on watch for comments from Japanese authorities, although most think currency intervention is unlikely before dollar/yen breaks the 15 year-low.
Japan's finance minister reiterated on Wednesday that he is closely watching currency moves.
The euro dipped 0.1 percent from late U.S. trade to $1.3213 EUR=, remaining within sight of a three-month high of $1.3262 reached on trading platform EBS on Tuesday.
Players have become more comfortable about picking up the single European currency after it earlier this week broke above $1.3125, a 23.2 percent Fibonacci retracement of its decline from November to June. Some now say the euro is likely to extend its gains to the 50 percent retracement around $1.3510.
Stronger growth in Europe and Asia have given rise to the view that central banks in those regions could raise interest rates before the Fed.
Data on Tuesday showed U.S. home purchase contracts tumbled to a record low in June, while factory orders fell steeper than expected, implying an anemic economic recovery for the remainder of this year.
The data also kept alive talk that the Fed might start a new round of Treasuries purchases to pump funds into the economy, as it did during a recent quantitative easing campaign.
On the back of weak data and the Fed speculation, U.S. two-year Treasury note yields on Tuesday fell to a record low, suggesting limited upside for the dollar. (Reporting by Rika Otsuka; Editing by Joseph Radford)