Yen eases after Japan's worst April trade deficit

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The yen edged down against the dollar and euro in Asia on Wednesday after Japan posted its worst ever April trade deficit, fuelling yen-negative sentiment.

News that the Bank of Japan announced no fresh policy measures after a two-day policy meeting triggered yen-buying but it soon fizzled.

The dollar was quoted at 102.55 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade against 102.47 yen in New York late Tuesday.

The euro also firmed to 132.43 yen from 132.26 yen in New York and to $1.2913 from $1.2906.

Official data released on Wednesday showed that Japan incurred a trade deficit for the 10th straight month in April, with the shortfall expanding almost 70 percent year-on-year as a weak yen pushed up import bills.

It was the biggest deficit for the month of April in comparable official data that goes back to 1979.

The Bank of Japan held off fresh measures as it ended a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, after its massive monetary easing in early April drove the yen down to multi-year lows against the dollar.

The market on Wednesday is awaiting testimony in Congress by US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.

Investors will be watching for signs that the Fed might be ready to alter its quantitative easing (QE) policy, or to project just when and how it might reel in its aggressive bond purchases.

"His comments on the likelihood of an earlier end to QE could have significant directional impact on the USD and investors may be wary of placing large directional bets until they see the details of his speech," National Australia Bank said in a note.

The dollar was higher against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It rose to Sg$1.2592 from Sg$1.2546 Tuesday afternoon, to 9,777 Indonesian rupiah from 9,760 rupiah and to 1,112.23 South Korean won from 1,111.48 won.

The US unit also firmed to 29.79 Thai baht from 29.72 baht, to Tw$29.80 from Tw$29.72 and to 41.21 Philippine pesos from 41.13 pesos and to 55.46 Indian rupees from 55.08 rupees.

The Australian dollar slipped to 97.83 US cents from 98.10 cents while the Chinese yuan changed hands at 16.69 yen against 16.72 yen.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this report --

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