The Japanese yen edged down across the board in early Asian deals on Friday as a rise in most Asian stocks prompted traders to seek for riskier currencies.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index opened higher today and is currently trading up 113 points or 1.1% To 10,777.
Traders await Japan’s final figures of industrial production for January, which will be released shortly. Analysts are expecting little change in the output numbers from the preliminary readings taken last month. Output was shown higher by 19.8 percent on year and 2.5 percent on month in the original reading, while capacity utilization came in at 1.4 percent.
The yen plummeted to a new multi-week low of 124.17 against the euro and 84.97 against the Swiss franc by 6:15 pm ET, compared to Thursday’s New York session closing values of 123.83 and 84.75, respectively. On the downside, the yen may find support levels at 125.30 against the common currency and 85.50 against the alpine unit.
The yen slumped to a 4-day low of 136.87 against the pound at this time from 136.36 hit late New York Thursday. The yen is currently worth 136.72 against the pound and sliding below the 137.50 support could set the lowest level for the domestic unit in more than 2 weeks.
Against the US dollar, the yen reached a 2-day low of 90.76 around 6:15 pm ET and falling below the 90.90 support could lead the domestic currency to reach its lowest level in more than 2 weeks. The greenback-yen pair that closed yesterday’s deals at 90.52 is presently quoted at 90.70.
Earlier on Thursday, the Labor Department released a report showing a modest decrease in first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended March 6th. Initial jobless claims edged down to 462,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 468,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to slip to 460,000 from the 469,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Also, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in the month of January, with the value of imports falling at a faster rate than the value of exports.
The yen also dropped to a 2-day low of 83.12 against the Australian dollar by 6:15 pm ET, compared to Thursday’s New York session close of 82.86. The yen is presently trading at 83.04 versus the aussie and descending under its Wednesday’s low of 83.35 could set its weakest level in more than 7 weeks.
The yen also reached a 2-day low of 88.67 against the Canadian dollar at this time and this may be compared to yesterday’s close of 88.44. The loonie-yen pair is presently trading at 88.57 and breaching Wednesday’s low of 88.77 could set the lowest mark for the yen in 8 weeks.
The yen that closed Thursday’s North American deals at 63.42 against the New Zealand dollar drifted lower to 63.56 before holding ground around 6:40 pm ET. The kiwi-yen pair is presently trading at 63.45.
Retail sales in New Zealand increased in January by a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent over December, according to data released today by Statistics NZ. In terms of value, overall retail sales increased by NZ$42 million on month.
Core retail sales, which exclude auto-related transactions, increased 0.3 percent, representing a value increase of $12 million.
Looking ahead, German wholesale price index for February, French current account and the euro-zone industrial production data-both for January are expected in the European session.
Turning to the North American session, traders are likely to look to data on US retail sales, consumer sentiment and business inventories while comments from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner may also attract attention.
Also, Canada will release its unemployment rate for February at 7:00 am ET.