Yen stronger in Asia after BoJ team approved

The yen strengthened in morning Asian trade Friday after Japan's parliament approved a new management team for the country's central bank, which is expected to launch aggressive easing measures.

The upper house gave the green light to Haruhiko Kuroda as BoJ governor, a nod that would tend to put downward pressure on the yen as markets bet on more policy measures from the new-look central bank.

But the currency has been sliding for months, with Friday's widely expected vote coming as Tokyo demands more policy action to stoke the limp economy.

In Tokyo morning trade, the dollar fetched 95.98 yen, from 96.08 yen in New York Thursday afternoon. The greenback briefly jumped past 96.20 yen after the vote but it quickly reversed course.

The euro also weakened to 124.84 yen from 124.91 yen, while it bought $1.3010, up from $1.3000 in New York.

Japan's upper house also gave the green light to Kikuo Iwata and Hiroshi Nakaso as Kuroda's deputies, with all three easily clearing the hurdle.

The leading opposition party had warned it would vote against Iwata -- a strong supporter of monetary easing and of giving Tokyo more control of the independent BoJ -- but his nomination passed by 124 votes to 96 votes.

A senior dealer at a Japanese bank said the dollar's post-vote gains may have been sparked by concern over Iwata's approval.

"Some overseas investors must be thinking that Mr. Iwata might not get enough support," said a senior dealer at a Japanese bank.

Following the vote, dollar-yen deals were "highly likely to trade rangebound", the dealer added.

The new team is expected to usher in a new era for the BoJ as Tokyo demands action to boost the world's third-biggest economy and end years of deflation that have crimped private spending and corporate investment.

Markets are now looking to the BoJ's next policy meeting in April to see what measures the new team takes.

Meanwhile, Japan's government upgraded its assessment of the economy for the third straight month in March, saying it was showing signs of picking up.

On Thursday, new US claims for unemployment benefits, an indicator of the pace of layoffs, fell for the third straight week.

More US and eurozone economic data are expected later in the day.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this article --