* Yen broadly weaker, markets await BOJ governor maiden
* Kuroda expected to usher in bold policies to tackle
* NZD boosted by stronger-than-expected GDP data
By Ian Chua
SYDNEY, March 21 The yen was broadly softer in
Asia on Thursday as markets waited for clues to see how quickly
the new Bank of Japan will deliver aggressive easing policies
when he gives his first media conference later in the day.
The dollar bought 96.09 yen, within striking distance
of a 3-1/2 year high of 96.71 reached last week, while the euro
fetched 124.26 yen, not too far from a 34-month peak
of 127.71 set early in February.
Reports said the new BOJ governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, will
announce a policy shift aimed at quickly reaching the 2 percent
inflation target through radical reform. Among the proposals
will be buying longer term JGBs and an early start to open-ended
That would bring Japan more in line with the United States,
where the Federal Reserve has been buying assets for years.
Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday said the U.S. central
bank would only slow the pace of its bond buying after the
labour market showed sustained improvement.
"There will be reasonable U.S. economic growth this year and
the unemployment rate will drift lower. But neither will be
sufficient to induce the Fed to take its foot off the gas. The
open-ended QE program is set to run into early 2014 at the very
least," said Martin McMahon, economist at Commonwealth Bank.
The dollar index was little changed at 82.878, but
off a seven-month high of 82.606 set recently. Traders expect
the index's downside will be limited while worries about Cyprus
The tiny European state is still scrambling to secure a deal
to avert a financial meltdown, having rejected terms of a
bailout from the European Union. It extended a bank lockdown to
next week to prevent a run on banks and has turned to Russia for
Despite this, the euro managed to drift up to $1.2933
from a four-month trough around $1.2843 set on Tuesday as
investors clung to hopes that a last minute deal will be struck.
One stand out performer in Asia was the New Zealand dollar,
which jumped on the back of data showing the country grew at its
fastest clip in three years in the December quarter.
The kiwi surged about 40 pips on the data to hit a high of
$0.8283. It was last at $0.8255.
Traders are now looking to a report on China's manufacturing
sector for fresh cues. In February, the survey by HSBC showed
factory activity in Asia's biggest economy grew at its slowest
pace in four months.