The Japanese yen edged down across the board in early Asian trading on Wednesday as regional shares rose after the news that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama stepped down from office.
Democratic Party of Japan’s Secretary-General Ichiro Ozawa also has stepped down, according to reports.
Hatoyama’s resignation comes amid plunging public support for his Cabinet, and after the Social Democratic Party left his ruling coalition due to discord over the issue of relocating a U.S. military base in Okinawa.
As of 9:55 pm ET, Japan’s Nikkei average was up 0.33% or 32.04 points to 9743.13.
Among other markets in the Asia-pacific region, Australia’s S&P/ASX was up 0.14% or 6.40 to 4,443.80, while New Zealand’s NZX-50 were down 0.53 percent or 16.06 points at 3,038.70 and Taiwan’s main index dropped 0.28 percent or 20.70 points to 7,270.22.
South Korea’s KOSPI closed today for the local elections and will be re-opened on Thursday.
The yen slumped to near a 3-week low of 135.28 against the pound around 9:45 pm ET, compared to 133.27 hit late New York Tuesday. On the downside, the Japanese unit may target the 137.50 support level. The pound-yen pair is presently quoted at 135.08.
The yen plunged to near a 2-week low of 91.79 against the US dollar and the next likely support level for the domestic unit is seen at 92.20. The greenback-yen pair that closed yesterday’s deals at 90.96 is presently quoted at 91.65.
The Japanese yen also drifted lower to 79.50 against the Swiss franc and 112.51 against the euro around 9:45 pm ET and this may be compared to Tuesday’s New York session closing values of 78.64 and 111.22, respectively. If the yen weakens further, likely support levels are seen at 112.70 against the common currency and 79.70 versus the alpine unit.
The yen also showed weakness against the resource-linked currencies in early Asian trading on Wednesday.
The yen slipped to as low as 62.42 against the New Zealand dollar, 76.83 against the Australian dollar and 87.40 versus the Canadian dollar by 9:40 pm ET. The Japanese currency that was worth 61.43 against the kiwi, 86.24 versus the loonie and 75.61 against the aussie at Tuesday’s North American close is currently quoted at 62.28, 87.21 and 76.74, respectively.
Australia’s economy grew by a seasonally adjusted 0.5% between January and March compared to the preceding three months, official figures have shown.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics said today that gross domestic product increased 2.7% in the March quarter compared to a year ago. The quarterly increase matched matched analyst forecasts, while the annual growth was slightly better than expectations.
Looking ahead, the Euro-zone PPI and the Swiss retail sales-both for April and the UK construction PMI data for May are expected in the upcoming European session.
The U.S. ADP employment data for May and the pending home sales for April are expected to influence trading in the North American session.