(Refiles to change day in first paragraph to Thursday)
* Yen nurses broad but modest losses as global stocks rally
* Sterling boosted by upbeat local data
* Yellen stresses need for interest rates to stay low
* BOJ governor speech next in focus
By Ian Chua
SYDNEY, April 17 The yen wallowed at one-week
lows against the dollar early on Thursday, having eased broadly
overnight as a rally in global stocks dented demand for the
The dollar bought 102.22 yen after rising 0.3 percent
on Wednesday, while the euro reached a two-week high of 141.77
yen before edging back to 141.22 yen.
The yen started its decline in Asia on Wednesday as the
Nikkei surged after comments from Japanese Finance Minister Taro
Aso were seen as suggesting more stock buying by a major
government pension fund.
Investors are now awaiting a speech from Bank of Japan
Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who on Wednesday affirmed the central
bank's optimistic view of the economy.
The focus overnight was on Janet Yellen. In her second
public speech as Federal Reserve Chair, she stressed the need
for accommodative policy citing persistently low inflation and
Her dovish remarks somewhat offset promising data that
showed the U.S. economy was regaining momentum. U.S. industrial
production rose at a faster-than-expected clip in March, while
the Fed's Beige Book report showed economic activity picked up
in recent weeks.
That left the dollar little changed against a basket of
major currencies. The dollar index last traded at 79.808.
Analysts at BNP Paribas said they remained positive on the
"With U.S. data surprise measures bouncing now, the Fed
nearly half way through its tapering process, and U.S. yields
still near the bottom of their broad ranges, we see upside risks
for the USD from current levels," they wrote in a note to
Investors cooled on the euro somewhat after data on
Wednesday confirmed that euro zone inflation had slowed to
levels not seen since November 2009.
That should keep the pressure on the European Central Bank
to act if prices do not rebound.
The euro was at $1.3819, having retreated from
Wednesday's high of $1.3851.
Among the best performing currencies was sterling which
climbed to its highest in over a month against the euro after
upbeat data bolstered expectations the Bank of England may have
to tighten earlier than it has signalled.
The euro fell to 82.20 pence, its lowest since
early March and was last at 82.25 pence.
Official data showed Britain's unemployment rate fell to a
five-year low of 6.9 percent in the three months to February,
down from 7.2 percent in the three months to January and below a
forecast in a Reuters poll of 7.1 percent.
After a setback on Wednesday, the New Zealand dollar was
steadier at $0.8625. It had fallen to its lowest in
over a week at $0.8578, stung by a surprisingly soft inflation
reading and another fall in dairy prices.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)