Yen rises in Asia after BoJ holds fire on easing measures

TOKYO- The yen rose against the dollar in Asia on Wednesday after the Bank of Japan (BoJ) held off fresh easing measures, saying the number three economy was picking up pace.

The dollar was trading at 101.18 yen in Tokyo midday trade after the BoJ announcement, down from around the 101.30 mark before the news and 101.32 yen in New York on Tuesday afternoon.

The euro also slipped to 138.67 yen from 138.82 yen in US trade while it bought $1.3701, unchanged from US trade.

Japan’s central bank said its policy board unanimously agreed to keep its stimulus drive unchanged after wrapping up a two-day meeting and said the economy was gathering speed, despite fears that an April 1 sales tax rise will dent consumer spending.

Markets are now looking to comments from BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda at about 3:30 pm local time (0630 GMT) for clues about when the bank might pull the trigger on further measures.

“The optimistic tone of recent BoJ communication suggests that the chances of additional stimulus being announced as soon as July have shrunk substantially, but we still think that more easing will eventually be required,” said London-based Capital Economics.

Investors were also waiting for Wednesday’s release of minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s last meeting. The minutes cover a two-day Fed meeting that concluded on April 30 at which the Fed trimmed its stimulus programme by another $10 billion to $45 billion a month.

But the bank then repeated its view that benchmark interest rates would remain low for some time.

The minutes “will be closely scrutinized for any changes to forward guidance,” National Australia Bank said in a note.