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Forex - Yen weakens further ahead of BoJ, HSBC China flash PMI drops

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Shutterstock photo - The yen weakened further in Asia on Thursday ahead of the latest policy review details from the Bank of Japan expected to emphasize continued aggressive easing and a weaker China flash purchasing managers index for November from HSBC.

HSBC's closely watched November flash manufacturing purchasing managers index for China clocked in at 50.4, below a forecast of 50.8, and easing from 50.9 for the final in October, according to a release.

"China's growth momentum softened a little in November, as the HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI moderated due to the weak new export orders and slowing pace of restocking activities," said HSBC chief China economist Qu Hongbin.

"That said, this is still the second-highest PMI reading in seven months. The muted inflationary pressures should enable Beijing to keep policy relatively accommodative to support growth."

USD/JPY traded at 100.40, up 36%, in a range of 100.02 - 100.51.14 ahead of the policy announcement at 1230 local time (0330 GMT) with the benchmark rate forecast stable at 0.10%. BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will hold a news conference at 1530 local time (0630 GMT).

The BoJ aims to help Japan reach 2% sustained inflation in 2015 in combination with fiscal efforts.

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens will also speak in Sydney on Thursday at 2005 local time (0905 GMT) with the bank closely watched for any signals on its bias to ease the cash rate further from a record low 2.5%.

AUD/USD traded at 0.9304, down 0.33%. China is a top export destination for Australian commodities such as iron ore.

Overnight, the dollar rose against most major currencies after the Federal Reserve said a decision to taper its monthly asset purchases could come in a few months, while reports the European Central Bank is considering negative interest rates also firmed demand for the greenback.

A decision to taper the pace of assets will come when economic indicators point to an economy that is clearly gaining steam, and although monetary authorities did not suggest when that month may arrive, markets felt it will come soon.

"During this general discussion of policy strategy and tactics, participants reviewed issues specific to the Committee's asset purchase program. They generally expected that the data would prove consistent with the Committee's outlook for ongoing improvement in labor market conditions and would thus warrant trimming the pace of purchases in coming months," the minutes read.

Data released earlier supported the greenback as well.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported that retail sales expanded 0.4% in October, blowing past expectations for a 0.1% gain after coming in flat the month earlier.

Elsewhere, the Commerce Department reported that wholesale business inventories inched up by 0.6% in September compared to expectations for a 0.3% gain.

Weak data out of the housing sector failed to cap the dollar's advance.

The National Association of Realtors reported earlier that existing home sales declined 3.2% to a seasonally adjusted 5.12 million units in October from 5.29 million in September.

Analysts had expected U.S. existing home sales to fall 2.6% to 5.13 million units last month.

Consumer price inflation figures largely met expectations.

U.S. Department of Labor said the country's consumer price index fell by a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in October, defying expectations for a 0.1% increase after rising by 0.2% in September.

Year-over-year, the U.S. consumer price index rose at an annualized rate of 1.0% last month, in line with estimates and slowing from 1.2% in September.

The core consumer price index, which is stripped of volatile food and energy costs, inched up 0.1% in October, in line with forecasts. Core consumer prices rose 0.1% in September.

The U.S. core CPI increased at annualized rate of 1.7% last month, unchanged from September and in line with expectations.

Across the Atlantic, the euro weakened after Bloomberg reported that sources close to the ECB said the bank is to weigh a -0.1% deposit rate if more easing is required.

The ECB surprised investors after it unexpectedly cut rates to a record low 0.25% earlier this month amid concerns over mounting deflationary pressures in the euro area.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was at 81.18, up 0.12%.

On Thursday, the U.S. is release data on producer price inflation, as well as the weekly report on initial jobless claims. The U.S. is also to release data manufacturing activity from the Philly F offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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