* Dollar hits 2-week high vs yen after data shows Japan's
record trade deficit
* Unrest in Ukraine likely to limit safe-haven yen's losses
* Status quo favours continued range trading for
(Adds comments, updates levels)
By Lisa Twaronite
TOKYO, April 21 The dollar edged higher versus
the yen on Monday, though a tense situation in Ukraine was
likely to keep traders on their toes, with some markets still
closed for the Easter holiday.
The dollar rose to its highest level in nearly two weeks
against the yen after data showed Japan logged a record trade
deficit in the fiscal year that ended in March.
It last stood at 102.61 yen, up 0.2 percent, after
rising as high as 102.71 yen.
Some traders, however, played down the impact of the
Japanese trade data, saying the greenback's move higher against
the yen occurred in holiday-thinned trading conditions.
In terms of flows, a trader for a Japanese bank in Singapore
said there was talk of dollar-buying against the yen by Japanese
The U.S. unit also edged higher against a basket of major
currencies, with the dollar index adding about 0.1
percent to 79.892.
Many markets around the world were closed on Friday ahead of
Easter weekend, and some will remain closed on Monday, meaning
activity is likely to be lighter than usual.
"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, said in a note to
"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
Unrest in the Ukraine added to the yen's safe-haven appeal
and was likely to keep the Japanese currency's losses in check.
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.
The euro rose 0.2 percent against its Japanese counterpart
to 141.69 yen, and touched a two-week high near
141.83 yen earlier on Monday.
Against the greenback, the euro was steady at $1.3810
, though still well shy of a 3-1/2-week peak of $1.3906
marked on April 11.
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.
In the week ahead, the dollar could take its cues from U.S.
housing related-data, as well as a reading on durable goods
orders. The durable goods orders report on Thursday is expected
to show a 2.0 percent increase in overall orders and a 1.5
percent rise in orders for core capital goods.
(Additional reporting by Masayuki Kitano in Singapore; Editing
by Chris Gallagher)