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Yen weaker in Asia after BoJ team approved

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The yen weakened in Asia on Friday after Japan's parliament approved a new management team for the central bank, which is expected to launch aggressive easing aimed at fixing the limp economy.

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.

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

In Tokyo afternoon trade, the dollar fetched 96.14 yen, from 96.08 yen in New York Thursday afternoon.

The euro also firmed to 125.23 yen from 124.91 yen, while it bought $1.3019, 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.

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.

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.

Policymakers could boost bond-buying and other asset purchases or adopt a specific time frame for a two-percent inflation target set by the bank in January under heavy pressure from Tokyo.

The target -- seen as more explicit than a previous "goal" -- is aimed at reversing years of falling prices that have slowed growth in the world's third-largest economy.

"Whatever the bank does it has to do fast," said Chris Tedder, research analyst at Forex.com in Sydney.

"Investors are expecting a lot from the BoJ and if it doesn't live up to its promises then we may see a flock back to the yen, making an economic recovery in Japan ever more difficult."

Meanwhile, Tokyo 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 were expected later Friday.

The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It eased to Sg$1.2485 from Sg$1.2494 a day earlier, to 40.58 Philippine pesos from 40.62 pesos, to 54.06 Indian rupees from 54.45 rupees, to 9,705 Indonesian rupiah from 9,710 rupiah, and to 29.57 Thai baht from 29.64 baht.

The dollar firmed to Tw$29.72 from Tw$29.70 and to 1,109.30 South Korean won from 1,106.64 won.

The Australian dollar was stronger at $1.0375 from $1.0367 while the Chinese yuan fetched 15.45 yen from 15.40 yen.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130315/yen-weaker-asia-after-boj-team-approved