TOKYO — The yen weakened in Asia Friday after the Bank of Japan (BOJ) held off fresh easing measures and struck a slightly more upbeat view of the world’s number three economy. In Tokyo, the greenback rose to 119.31 yen from 118.87 yen before the BOJ policy announcement and 118.81 yen in New York. The euro strengthened to 146.53 yen from 146.00 yen, while it was at US$1.2281 against US$1.2287 in U.S. trade. ��Exports have shown signs of picking up�� while factory output has started to ��bottom out,�� the BOJ said in a post-meeting statement. ��Japan’s economy is expected to continue its moderate recovery.�� Plunging oil prices have helped narrow Japan’s gaping trade deficit while a sharply weaker yen has been a plus for the country’s exporters.
But lower energy import prices are also digging into the BOJ’s efforts to reach a 2.0 percent inflation rate �X aimed at ending years of deflation and unimpressive growth �X which has boosted speculation about further easing in 2015.
The comments suggested a rate hike was unlikely before mid-2015. The ruble held steady at 61.08 against the dollar after President Vladimir Putin vowed Russia would soon recover from the worst financial crisis of his rule and said his grip on power was firm �X despite new Western sanctions and plunging oil prices. The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies. The greenback bought 12,547 Indonesian rupiah, down from 12,565 on Thursday. It also fell to 1,101.83 South Korean won from 1,102.57 won, to 63.08 Indian rupees from 63.31 rupees, and to 32.85 Thai baht from 32.92 baht. The dollar rose to SG$1.3143 from SG$1.3124, to NT$31.47 from NT$31.41, and to 44.75 Philippine pesos from 44.71 pesos. The Australian dollar edged up to 81.89 U.S. cents from 81.34 cents, while the Chinese yuan bought 19.16 yen against 19.07 yen.