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Yen up in Asia after tumble on BoJ move

TOKYO--The yen rebounded in Asia Wednesday after it tumbled on the Bank of Japan's move to boost lending to commercial banks, as investors eye U.S. housing data and minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting.

In afternoon Tokyo trade, the dollar bought 102.19 yen, down from 102.40 yen in New York Tuesday.

The euro slipped to 140.60 yen from 140.89 yen while it was almost flat at US$1.3764 against US$1.3759. The unit was under pressure after a closely-watched survey showed investment sentiment in economic powerhouse Germany slipped from recent highs amid uncertainty about the strength of a U.S. recovery.

On Tuesday, the Japanese currency plunged after the BoJ held off expanding its asset-buying program but said it would boost some lending schemes to stimulate borrowing.

The move was taken as showing a willingness to launch future easing measures — which tend to weigh on the yen — as Japan gets set for a sales tax rise in April that some fear will derail a recovery in the world's third-largest economy.

Later Wednesday investors are looking to minutes from Ben Bernanke's last meeting as Fed chief, while his successor Janet Yellen gets set to face hard questions as the G20 holds its first meeting of the year this weekend.

Yellen will likely receive a grilling over the negative impact on emerging economies from the Fed's move to pull back on its stimulus drive, known as quantitative easing.

Currencies from Argentina to Russia, South Africa and Turkey have been in freefall, in part because heavyweight U.S. investors are repatriating funds in anticipation of higher returns at home as the Fed tightens years of relaxed monetary policy.

“It will be interesting to see if there was any discussion to accelerate or slow the pace of tapering,” National Australia Bank said, referring to the Fed meeting minutes.

“Since the meeting we have had another weak payrolls, so the discussion on employment indicators will also be important for markets.”

Later Wednesday, eyes will be on U.S. housing starts for January, after an unexpected slump in home builder confidence.

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