* Japan posts record trade deficit, hitting yen
* Unrest in Ukraine likely to limit safe-haven yen's losses
* Status quo favours continued range trading for
(Updates with late New York prices)
By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK, April 21 The dollar rose to a two-week
high against the yen on Monday after Japan posted a record trade
deficit in the fiscal year ended in March, though tensions in
Ukraine were likely to limit losses on the safe-haven Japanese
The greenback is up seven straight sessions versus the yen,
while the euro touched a two-week peak against the Japanese
currency. Many European markets are closed due to the Easter
Monday holiday, leaving market volumes low.
The yen fell after Japanese exports in March grew at just
1.8 percent compared to a year-ago, versus forecasts for a 6.3
The country's trade balance stood at a deficit of 1.446
trillion yen in March, after a record trade gap of 2.79 trillion
yen in January. That marked a record 21-month run of deficits.
"The weak trade figures suggested that sooner or later Tokyo
may have to resort to bolder monetary policies to keep the
economy on the right track," said Joe Manimbo, senior market
analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.
The dollar hovered just under the session high of 102.70 yen
, up 0.2 percent.
Still, losses in the yen could be tempered by fresh tensions
in Ukraine. An agreement reached last week to avert a wider
conflict faltered, with pro-Moscow separatist gunmen showing no
sign of surrendering the government buildings they have seized.
At least three people were killed in a gunfight early on
Sunday near a Ukrainian city controlled by pro-Russian
separatists, shaking a fragile international peace accord.
Geopolitical uncertainty tends to support safe-haven
currencies such as the yen. A trader for a Japanese bank in
Singapore said there was talk of dollar-buying against the yen
by Japanese banks.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback
against a basket of major currencies, added 0.17 percent to
"The greenback's gains are consistent with our caution last
week against playing for a breakout as key support for the
dollar had been approached," Marc Chandler, global head of
currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York, said
in a note to clients.
"The issue remains the same for the week ahead. Assuming no
exogenous shocks, such data or comments that require a
significant reassessment of the macro-view, that is to say, the
continued status quo favours continued range trading," Chandler
The euro rose 0.13 percent to 141.50 yen, after
touching a two-week high of 141.82 earlier on Monday.
The euro slipped 0.15 percent to $1.3792, its weakest
point since April 9.
The euro hit a 2-1/2-year high near $1.40 last month,
prompting European Central Bank officials to express their
concern that a strengthening currency could damage the euro
zone's nascent recovery.
(Additional reporting by Daniel Bases in New York, Lisa
Twaronite in Tokyo; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Nick