The yen fell versus 15 of its 16 major peers after a report showed Japan’s trade deficit widened more than forecast last month. The dollar held its biggest weekly advances in a month versus the yen and the euro ahead of leading U.S. economic indicators that may back speculation the Federal Reserve will remove stimulus this year. New Zealand’s dollar was little changed before the Reserve Bank sets policy on April 24. The ruble weakened after deadly clashes in Ukraine’s east. “Japan’s trade deficit was much larger than expected, so it helped to push the yen lower,” said Marito Ueda, senior managing director at currency-margin company FX Prime Corp. in Tokyo. “We’re likely to shift to a dollar strength story from a yen weakness story going forward as we start to see good data from the U.S.” The yen fell 0.1 percent to 102.53 per dollar as of 8:15 a.m. in London from April 18, when it completed a 0.8 percent weekly slide, the biggest since the five days to March 21. Japan’s currency dropped 0.2 percent to 141.74 per euro. The dollar traded at $1.3825 per euro from $1.3813, following a 0.5 percent weekly gain. Financial markets in the U.K., Germany, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand are among those closed for a holiday today. The U.S. markets reopen after being shut on April 18. Japan’s trade deficit widened to 1.45 trillion yen ($14.1 billion) in March, from 802.5 billion yen the previous month, the Ministry of Finance said today.
The median estimate of analysts surveyed byBloomberg News was a 1.1 trillion yen shortfall. The deficit was a record 2.8 trillion yen in January. Four of the 36 economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the Bank of Japan to add to easing on April 30, according to the results of the most recent poll, conducted March 28 to April 3. In the U.S., an index of leading indicators probably rose 0.7 percent in March, the most since November, according to the median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg poll before the data are released today. The Fed began tapering its monthly asset purchases in January, and economists predict the asset-purchase program will end in October. The Federal Open Market Committee will next meet on April 29-30. “The BOJ meeting next week will overlap with the FOMC and those two events will be closely watched as the divergence in their monetary policies has the potential to destroy the yen.” said Kengo Suzuki, the chief currency strategist at Mizuho Securities Co. in Tokyo. More