Jan 20, 2015:Â The yen strengthened against the dollar, snapping a three-day drop, after the Bank of Japanrefrained from adding a stimulus plan that had sent the currency tumbling when it was expanded in October.
Australiaâ€™s dollar climbed and New Zealandâ€™s currency rallied after stocks in Asia advanced, reviving demand for higher-yielding assets. The euro was at almost the lowest level in 11 years before the European Central Bank decides whether to buy sovereign bonds under quantitative easing. Malaysiaâ€™s ringgit slid for a third day after Fitch Ratings warned it may cut the nationâ€™s credit rating.
â€œGiven weâ€™ve got the ECB tomorrow and expectations are pretty high there, and given the SNB, there has been at least some residual expectation that we would see some actionâ€ from the Bank ofJapan, said Mitul Kotecha, head of Asia-Pacific currency strategy at Barclays Plc in Singapore, referring to the Swiss central bank scrapping its currency cap. â€œThereâ€™s some dawning realization now that the Bank of Japan werenâ€™t going to follow suit,â€ leading the yen to strengthen, he said.
The yen gained 0.8 percent to 117.86 per dollar at 2:55 p.m. in Tokyo from yesterday. It rose 0.6 percent to 136.40 yen. The euro traded at $1.1574 from $1.1550, after sliding to $1.1460 on Jan. 16, the weakest level since November 2003.
Australiaâ€™s dollar climbed 0.5 percent to 82.11 U.S. cents, halting a two-day drop. New Zealandâ€™s kiwi gained 0. 3 percent to 76.63 U.S. cents, rebounding from a 1.9 percent loss yesterday.
The yen gained against all of its 16 major counterparts after the BOJâ€™s decision disappointed some investors who had expected the central bank to boost its record stimulus plan last expanded on Oct. 31, according to Satoru Igarashi, a senior foreign-exchange strategist at Mizuho Securities Co.
The central bank today retained its plan to increase the monetary base at an annual pace of 80 trillion yen ($674 billion). The BOJ cut its inflation projection to 1 percent for the fiscal year starting in April, while raising its forecast for gross domestic product to 2.1 percent.
â€œThe most important element of todayâ€™s meeting were Board membersâ€™ updated forecasts for inflation and GDP growth,â€ Marcel Thieliant, an economist in Singapore at Capital Economics, wrote in a note to clients. â€œIf anything, these projections were more optimistic than we had expected.â€
Australiaâ€™s dollar was the biggest gainer against the greenback, after the yen, as the MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.7 percent, extending gains to a third day.
The Aussie gained as â€œrisk-onâ€ sentiment increased after overseas stock markets advanced, Chinareported better-than-expected economic data yesterday and speculation remained that the ECB will expand stimulus tomorrow, Will Leys, a sales trader at CMC Markets in Sydney, wrote in an e-mail.
New Zealandâ€™s dollar rebounded after dropping earlier on a report that showed consumer prices fell for the first time in two years, giving the Reserve Bank scope to keep borrowing costs on hold for an extended period.
â€œMarkets will continue to speculate whether the bankâ€™s tightening bias will be watered down,â€ said Sam Tuck, a senior currency strategist in Auckland at ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd.
The euro remained little changed before the ECB sets monetary policy. The central bank will announce a 550 billion-euro ($636 billion) bond-purchase program this week, according to 93 percent of respondents in a Bloomberg survey of economists. That would top the 500 billion euros in models presented to ECB officials this month.
Malaysiaâ€™s ringgit extended a three-month loss to almost 10 percent, the worst in Asia, after the governmentâ€™s increase to the fiscal deficit target prompted Fitch Ratings to warn of a credit-rating downgrade. The currency was already trading at its lowest since 2009 before Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday raised the 2015 deficit projection to 3.2 percent of gross domestic product from 3 percent.
The ringgit fell 0.4 percent to 3.6210 per dollar.