FOREX-Yen steady in early Asia trade; Japan flow data eyed

Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:37pm EDT

Related Topics

* Japan Ministry of Finance capital flow data awaited

* Euro off lows hit after weak Ifo survey

* Australia, New Zealand markets closed for holidays

By Lisa Twaronite

TOKYO, April 25 (Reuters) - The yen was steady against its major counterparts in early Asia trading on Thursday, with the dollar still shy of the 100-yen mark and the euro remaining off overnight lows hit in the wake of disappointing German data.

The U.S. unit hit four-year high of 99.95 yen on the EBS trading platform on April 11, a week after the Bank of Japan unveiled its radical monetary stimulus programme, and has been flirting with the 100-yen level in recent sessions. But options barriers have thwarted every attempt to breach it so far.

"My view on that 100 level is that it's just a number. The bigger issue is what happens after it breaks, and whether it's sustainable," said Sue Trinh, senior currency strategist at RBC in Hong Kong.

With markets in Australia and New Zealand closed for public holidays, overall liquidity is likely to be thin on Wednesday, she added.

Market participants awaited data from Japan's Ministry of Finance on weekly capital flows, for any indication that the Bank of Japan's massive stimulus unveiled on April 4 has pushed Japanese investors to seek higher returns overseas. The previous week's data had shown Japanese investors were net sellers of foreign bonds to the tune of 332 billion yen.

"To date, data has failed to show significant outflows from Japan," Trinh said.

The dollar was steady at 99.50 yen.

Against the yen, the euro was little changed at 129.53 yen , above its overnight low of 128.78.

The euro was steady from late U.S. levels, fetching $1.3018 , remaining well off a two and a half week low of $1.2954 hit overnight after the Munich-based Ifo think tank's survey of German business sentiment showed its second straight monthly drop in April. That heightened fears about the outlook for the euro zone's largest economy and added to speculation that the European Central Bank will cut rates soon.

The disappointing Ifo survey came on the heels of German purchasing managers' index data on Tuesday, which showed a sharp drop in business activity.

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