* BOJ Kuroda sticks to upbeat stance on economy
* Trading activity winding down ahead of Easter holidays
* Yellen stresses need for interest rates to stay low
By Lisa Twaronite and Ian Chua
TOKYO/SYDNEY, April 17 The yen bounced back from
a one-week low against the dollar on Thursday, with investors
taking their cues from recently volatile Japanese equities,
though activity was thin as investors wound down trading ahead
of the Easter holidays.
The dollar bought 102.01 yen, down 0.2 percent on the
day and moving back toward last Friday's 3-1/2-week low of
It rose as high as 102.37 yen in the previous session after
the Nikkei stock average rallied on comments from
Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso that the market took to
suggest more stock buying by the government's pension fund. The
Nikkei was slightly higher in afternoon trade on Thursday.
The euro edged down about 0.1 percent against its Japanese
counterpart to 141.14 yen, after hitting a two-week
high of 141.77 yen on Wednesday.
"Instead of being driven by fundamentals, the yen and the
stock market are moving in relationship to each other this week,
as investors adjust their positions ahead of the Easter
holiday," said Ayako Sera, senior market economist at Sumitomo
Mitsui Trust Bank.
While markets in Tokyo will remain open, some countries
around the world would will be closed on Friday ahead of Easter
Sunday, and others will remain closed on Monday. This means
trading liquidity is likely to be low, market participants said.
Some investors apparently used Bank of Japan Governor
Haruhiko Kuroda's comments as an excuse to buy back the yen,
even though his remarks contained nothing new, Sera said.
The central bank chief said nothing to indicate that more
easing steps would be forthcoming anytime soon. Kuroda said the
BOJ will adjust monetary policy when needed, and repeated that
Japan was making steady progress toward achieving its 2 percent
inflation target as the economy continues to recover moderately.
Wednesday's U.S. focus was on Janet Yellen's second public
speech as Federal Reserve Chair, in which 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 in U.S. trade. The dollar index last
traded at 79.689, slightly lower on the day.
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
The euro edged up against the greenback in Asian trade even
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
The euro was last at $1.3838, up about 0.2 percent,
though still solidly below a 3-1/2-week peak of $1.3906 touched
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)