The Japanese yen strengthened across the board on Thursday in early Asian deals.
Asian stocks markets are exhibiting mixed trading today. While the Australian, New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan markets are falling, markets in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia are trading higher.
However, the Japanese stock market is off on holiday in observance of Showa Day, or Greenery Day and will be re-opened on Friday, but then be on break until the following Thursday.
The yen advanced to 86.39 against the Swiss franc and 123.77 against the euro around 9:25 pm ET Wednesday from Wednesday’s North American session closing quotes of 86.74 and 124.31, respectively. On the upside, the Japanese currency may target near-term resistance levels at 86.10 against the alpine currency and 122.80 versus the European common unit.
The euro continued its sell off as S&P downgraded Spain’s long-term credit-rating to ‘AA’ with a negative outlook. The move by the ratings agency came just one day after it lowered its credit ratings on Greece and Portugal.
The yen that closed Wednesday’s North American deals at 143.03 against the pound edged higher to 142.33 before holding steady around 9:25 pm ET Wednesday. If the yen strengthens further, it may find a near-term resistance level at 141.80. At present, the pound-yen pair is quoted at 142.47.
Reversing its previous session’s downtrend, the yen rose to a high of 93.86 against the US dollar around 9:40 pm ET Wednesday and the pair leveled off thereafter. The greenback-yen pair, which finished Wednesday’s North American deals at 94.04, is presently worth 93.90 with 93.75 seen as the next likely target level.
The greenback gained yesterday after the US Federal Reserve decided to leave interest rates at historic lows. In its policy statement after the announcement, the Fed reiterated that rates are likely to remain at exceptionally low levels for an extended period.
Additionally, the central bank said that moderate economic growth is expected to continue for some time as the “labor market is beginning to improve,” although it said reluctance to add to payrolls persists among employers. The statement also revealed that central bankers anticipate inflation to remain subdued in the near future.
The yen strengthened against the resource-linked currencies too.
The yen rose to 92.85 against the Canadian dollar by 9:25 pm ET Wednesday and the pair moved sideways thereafter. If the yen soars up further, 92.70 is seen as the next likely resistance in near-term. The loonie-yen pair that closed yesterday’s deals at 93.18 is presently quoted at 92.94.
The Japanese currency also climbed to 86.59 against the Australian dollar and 67.17 against the NZ dollar around 8:40 pm ET Wednesday and both the pairs moved in a holding pattern thereafter. The yen that was worth 86.99 against the aussie and 67.76 versus the kiwi at Wednesday’s North American close is currently quoted at 86.69 and 67.24, respectively.
The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index for Australia declined 0.3 percent in February. The Board also reported that its Coincident index for February declined 0.2 percent from January, the first decline since August 2009.
In New Zealand, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand left interest rates steady at 2.5 percent on Thursday morning, but hinted that rate increases could be coming soon.
In an accompanying statement, RBNZ Governor Allan Bollard said New Zealand’s economy was “recovering broadly as expected and growth is expected to pick up further through 2010.”
Shortly after the RBNZ announcement, Statistics New Zealand revealed that the nation’s trade surplus for March grew to its largest level since 2002. The March monthly trade surplus was NZ$567 million, representing 14.0 percent of exports.
March 2010 exports rose 0.1 percent in value to NZ$4.1 billion while import values fell NZ$126 million or 3.5 percent to $3.5 billion.
Looking ahead, German unemployment and the final figures of eurozone’s economic, business, consumer and industrial confidences-all for the month of April are slated for release in the upcoming European session.
Turning to the U.S., the Labor Department’s customary weekly jobless claims data for the weekended April 24 is expected in the New York session.