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Investors get '90s flashbacks as yen inches higher

Washington's tough trade stance canceling out interest rate spread

TOKYO -- As the dollar gives up some of its recent gains against the yen, some investors are watching for a possible repeat of the Japanese currency's appreciation in the 1990s, when trade friction outweighed monetary policy differences.

The yen has strengthened by 5 against the dollar since bottoming out in mid-December at just shy of 119 yen. It's still down by more than 10 since the November presidential election, when it stood at around 101, amid expectations of U.S. economic stimulus.

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