Nissan CEO Ghosn: strong yen short-term phenomenon

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MIYAKO-GUN, Japan, Nov 23 (Reuters) Nissan Motor Co <7201.T> Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said on Friday he thought the yen's recent strength was a short-term phenomenon and that the Japanese currency would eventually stabilise at weaker levels.

''I think what you're seeing now is short-term volatility,'' Ghosn, also head of French partner Renault SA , told reporters at a ceremony marking the production launch of the new Murano sport utility vehicle.

''I think stability will return, probably not (at the levels) we are at now,'' he said at a factory on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu.

The yen rose to its strongest level in 2-{ years against the dollar on Friday, fuelled by growing expectations of U.S. interest rate cuts to support a weakening economy. The yen is up almost 10 percent versus the broadly weak dollar this year, trading near 108 yen, but has fallen against the euro.

While the stronger yen will eat into short-term profits, making exports of cars such as the Murano -- bound first for North America -- more expensive, Ghosn said Nissan did not base its long-term strategy on currency moves.

On the U.S. market, Ghosn repeated that he expected total sales of 15.5 million-16 million units in 2008, compared with an expected 2007 tally of around 16 million as fallout from the U.S. subprime loan crisis dampens demand.

''We're not very bullish on the U.S. market next year, but we're prepared to compete,'' Ghosn said.

REUTERS SLD DB1127

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