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00:00 Switzerland Bank holiday
05:00 Japan Housing Starts, y/y November +7.1% +9.5% +14.1%
05:00 Japan Small Business Confidence December 51.1 51.1
The yen weakened to a five-year low versus the dollar amid speculation the Bank of Japan will continue unprecedented stimulus while the Federal Reserve pares quantitative easing as the U.S. economy recovers.
Japan’s currency dropped for a fourth day before the U.S. announces jobless claims today and after Bank of Japan minutes showed one board member said a slowdown in growth could represent a downward shift in trend. Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits probably fell to 345,000 in the week ended Dec. 21, according to economists ahead of today’s data. Monthly employment figures are due on Jan. 10, with the jobless rate forecast to remain at a five-year low of 7 percent.
BOJ board members agreed to examine risks and adjust policy as needed, according to minutes of their Nov. 20-21 meeting released today. One member said anticipation of more easing could lead to economic instability.
The yen also slid to a five-year low versus the euro as the Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) extended gains after yesterday closing above 16,000 for the first time in six years.
Australia’s dollar declined against all its major peers.
EUR / USD: during the Asian session, the pair rose to $ 1.3690
GBP / USD: during the Asian session, the pair rose to $ 1.6395
USD / JPY: during the Asian session, the pair rose to Y104.75
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