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Yen rises after BOJ holds fire on easing measures

TOKYO--The yen rose against the dollar in Asia on Wednesday after the Bank of Japan (BOJ) held off fresh easing measures, saying the world's number three economy was picking up pace.

The dollar was trading at 101.17 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade after the BOJ announcement, down from around the 101.30 mark before the news and 101.32 yen in New York on Tuesday afternoon.

The euro slipped to 138.65 yen from 138.82 yen in U.S. trade while it bought US$1.3701, unchanged from U.S. trade.

Japan's central bank policy board after a two-day meeting unanimously agreed to keep its stimulus drive unchanged and said the economy was gathering speed, despite fears that an April 1 sales tax rise will dent consumer spending.

Markets are now looking to comments from BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda at about 3:30 p.m. (0630 GMT) for clues about when the bank might introduce further measures.

“The optimistic tone of recent BOJ communication suggests that the chances of additional stimulus being announced as soon as July have shrunk substantially, but we still think that more easing will eventually be required,” said London-based Capital Economics.

Investors were also waiting for Wednesday's release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's last meeting. The minutes cover a two-day Fed gathering that concluded on April 30 at which the Fed trimmed its stimulus program by another US$10 billion to US$45 billion a month.

But the bank then repeated its view that benchmark interest rates would remain low for some time.

The minutes “will be closely scrutinized for any changes to forward guidance,” National Australia Bank said in a note.

The dollar was higher against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It rose to 58.82 Indian rupees from 58.59, to 11,502.50 Indonesian rupiah from 11,446.30 and to 43.77 Philippine pesos from 43.69.

The greenback also climbed to 1,027.15 South Korean won from 1,021.94 won, to SG$1.2531 from SG$1.2508.

The Australian dollar sank to 92.30 U.S. cents from 92.93 cents and the Chinese yuan dropped to 16.19 yen from 16.24 yen.

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