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Yen inches up in Asian trading

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The yen was stronger in Asian trade Wednesday as selling subsided after Tokyo's choices to lead the Bank of Japan ended parliamentary hearings with pro-easing comments that offered few surprises.

The dollar bought 93.17 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, from 93.35 yen in New York Tuesday afternoon.

The euro was mixed at 121.68 yen and $1.3058, against 121.74 yen and $1.3046 in US trade, ahead of a European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting set to begin Thursday.

The greenback's weakening came amid a lack of yen-selling cues following confirmation hearings in parliament on Monday and Tuesday from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's picks to lead the Bank of Japan.

The Japanese currency has been pushed down by expectations that the new-look BoJ will launch fresh credit easing measures when its expected management team take up their posts in the coming weeks.

"The Japanese yen is being bought on position adjustments now that the hearings are over," said Junichi Ishikawa, market analyst at IG Securities in Tokyo.

Citibank Japan chief forex strategist Osamu Takashima told Dow Jones Newswires: "Although we are still bearish on the Japanese yen in the long-run, we suspect the (dollar/yen) pair is likely to see a further pullback."

Haruhiko Kuroda, a finance veteran the government has nominated to head the central bank, told Japan's parliament Monday that if confirmed as BoJ chief, he would do "everything possible" to reverse years of growth-sapping deflation, stoking expectations of aggressive easing measures.

Such moves tend to push down the value of the yen.

On Tuesday, Hiroshi Nakaso and Kikuo Iwata, Kuroda's proposed deputies, also told lawmakers they are ready to support aggressive monetary easing steps to meet a new two-percent inflation target.

Euro sentiment was guided by caution ahead of the ECB's policy meeting and the post-meeting news conference given by its president Mario Draghi.

Currency markets were also keeping an eye on eurozone fourth-quarter economic growth data expected later Wednesday as well as US jobs figures.

The dollar was mostly lower against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It weakened to 1,083.65 South Korean won from 1,086.45 won a day earlier, to 54.66 Indian rupees from 54.76 rupees, to 40.68 Philippine pesos from 40.70 pesos, and to 9,688 Indonesian rupiah from 9,710 rupiah.

It also slipped to Tw$29.62 from Tw$29.68 and to 29.74 Thai baht from 29.78 baht, while the dollar was slightly stronger at Sg$1.2447 from Sg$1.2440.

The Australian dollar rose to $1.0277 from $1.0244, after official data showed the economy grew 0.6 percent in the three months to December thanks to a pick-up in exports. The Chinese yuan inched up to 14.96 yen from 14.93 yen.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130306/yen-inches-asian-trading