Yen gains ground in early Asia trade after quake

TOKYO - The yen gained ground against major currencies in early Asian trade on Monday after a deadly earthquake and tsunami hit Japan late last week.

As of 7:15 am (2215 GMT Sunday), the dollar changed hands at 80.65 yen (S$1.23) against 81.91 in New York late Friday. The euro traded at 112.51 yen, compared with 113.89 in New York.

At one point, the yen briefly touched 80.60 against the dollar, the highest since November 9.

Market participants are now watching for any fall to 80.00 yen, which could trigger a Japanese yen-buying intervention into the market before the 1995 lows of 79.75 yen, dealers said.

"Markets will be very wary of taking the USD/JPY below those levels for fear of intervention," Bank of New Zealand FX strategist Mike Jones said.

Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this report