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May 27, 2017

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Yen weakens as buoyant stocks boost sentiment

TOKYO -- The yen weakened in Asia on Wednesday as the head of the Bank of Japan said the country was on target to meet its inflation target next year while buoyant equity markets lifted investor sentiment.

In Tokyo afternoon trading, the greenback fetched 102.19 yen, up from 101.94 yen on Tuesday in New York, as traders moved out of the Japanese unit which is seen as a safe haven during times of turmoil and uncertainty.

The euro also rose to 141.27 yen from 140.80 yen, while the single currency fetched US$1.3824 against US$1.3813 in U.S. trade.

Helping boost sentiment was Chinese economic growth figures for the first three months of the year that came in slightly above forecasts.

Traders were also listening to comments from Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, after the BOJ disappointed markets when it stood pat on its year-old monetary easing program last week, despite fears that an April 1 sales tax rise — Japan's first in 17 years — would hold back its recovery.

Kuroda told a parliamentary session Wednesday that it was too soon to talk about exiting the easing campaign, as the Federal Reserve winds down its own stimulus drive.

Investors remain jittery over the situation in Ukraine as Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that it was now on the verge of civil war after the Kiev government sent in the army against pro-Kremlin separatists in the east of the country.

There are planned four-way talks on Ukraine on Thursday between top diplomats of Russia, the European Union, the United States and Ukraine.

In other trade, the dollar weakened to SG$1.2514 from SG$1.2537 on Tuesday, to 1,038.26 South Korean won from 1,042.00 won, to 44.51 Philippine pesos from 44.56 pesos, and to 60.25 Indian rupees from 60.31 rupees.

The greenback firmed to 11,480.00 Indonesian rupiah from 11,437.50 rupiah, and to 32.33 Thai baht from 32.30 baht.

The Australian dollar weakened to 93.72 U.S. cents from 93.95 cents while the Chinese yuan fetched 16.42 yen against 16.37 yen.

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