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Yen pressured as BOJ meeting outcome awaited

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

By Lisa Twaronite

TOKYO (Reuters) - The yen faced pressure in early Asian trade on Friday, ahead of the outcome of a Bank of Japan meeting at which policymakers were expected to maintain their commitment to ultra-easy monetary policy.

The BOJ will is expected to refrain from expanding its stimulus any time soon as Japan's economic recovery takes root and a weaker yen lifts exports.

Nearly two-thirds of Japanese firms expect the BOJ to ease further, though, in the first six months of 2014, as it tries to achieve 2 percent inflation within two years, a Reuters poll showed earlier this month.

The dollar remained on firm footing, supported by a rise in U.S. Treasury yields a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would start to cut its bond-buying stimulus.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield jumped as high as 2.9512 percent on Thursday, hitting a three-month peak.

"Combined with solid economic growth, we expect the Fed to begin raising rates in mid-2015, earlier than it currently anticipates," strategists at Barclays said in a note to clients.

Markets are likely to price in the likelihood of higher U.S. interest rates much sooner, they added, and "the normalization of the U.S. rates curve should add to USD gains."

The greenback was up 0.1 percent at 104.29 yen, not far from a five-year high of 104.37 yen touched on the EBS trading platform in the wake of the Fed's announcement.

The euro was flat on the day against its Japanese counterpart at 142.42 yen, within sight of its five-year high of 142.89 yen struck after the Fed's move.

The euro was down about 0.1 percent against the dollar at $1.3655, not far from the previous session's low of $1.3649, which was its deepest nadir against the dollar since December 6.

The Australian dollar wallowed not far from a 3-1/2-year low hit after the Fed revealed its stimulus reduction plans.

The Aussie fell as far as $0.8820, its lowest since August 2010, and was last down about 0.1 percent at $0.8856.

(Editing by Eric Meijer)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/131209/euro-gains-better-money-market-conditions-china-data