Yen gains in Asia as BOJ meeting starts


TOKYO–The yen strengthened in Asia on Monday as the Bank of Japan (BOJ) began a two-day meeting widely expected to see it launch further easing aimed at boosting the world’s third-largest economy. The U.S. dollar was initially stronger against the Japanese currency in early Tokyo trade, but slipped to 89.55 yen, against 90.08 yen by the end of trade in New York on Friday. The euro also lost early gains to sit at 119.25 yen from 119.96 yen, while the single currency was at US$1.3312, from US$1.3317. The yen tends to weaken on expectations of BOJ policy measures and has fallen sharply in recent weeks. However the unit rose as analysts said another expansion of the bank’s 101-trillion-yen asset-buying program may disappoint, with National Australia Bank warning another 10-trillion-yen boost to its main policy tool “will underwhelm and probably send the (yen) higher.” The U.S. dollar got some support after U.S. Republicans proposed a three-month increase to the U.S. debt ceiling to give more time to agree on a budget, although it made the move conditional on steep spending cuts. The U.S. dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies, rising to SG$1.2297 on Monday from SG$1.2254 on Friday, to 1,059.95 South Korean won from 1,055.81 won, and to 40.65 Philippine pesos from 40.56 pesos. It also rose to 9,745 Indonesian rupiah from 9,640 rupiah but fell to 53.83 Indian rupees from 53.95 rupees and to 29.69 Thai baht from 29.78 baht.

The Australian dollar edged down to US$1.0518 from US$1.0524, while China’s yuan was at 14.41 yen against 14.48 yen.