* Yen stuck in downtrend as risk appetite stays buoyant
* U.S. stocks post record-closing high
* Euro resilient as no easing expected from ECB on Thursday
By Ian Chua
SYDNEY, April 2 The beleaguered yen found little
reprieve in Asia early on Wednesday, the only major currency
showing a clear trend as risk appetite stayed buoyant and
investors continued to bet on more stimulus from China and
perhaps even Japan.
The dollar bought 103.66, having hit a 3-1/2 week
peak of 103.71 as U.S. stocks rose to a record closing
high. A break above the March 7 peak of 103.77 will take it back
to highs not seen since late January.
The euro hovered near a three-week high of 143.07
, while the Australian dollar was not far off a
10-month peak of 95.97 set on Tuesday.
The New Zealand dollar fetched 89.42 yen, having
scaled a 6-1/2 year peak of 89.91.
"The combination of rising global equity markets with rising
U.S. Treasury yields is a catalyst for USD/JPY to move higher,"
said Kit Juckes, analyst at Societe Generale
Juckes added that this week's hike in Japan's sales tax to 8
percent from 5 percent also poses a big challenge to Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe's recipe of hyper-easy monetary policy,
fiscal spending and promised reforms.
"As the prospect of further BoJ easing gets closer, now is
the time for USD/JPY to head towards and quite probably through
105 in the coming weeks," he added.
Meanwhile, the euro drifted up to $1.3794, continuing
to recover from a one-month low of $1.3704 plumbed Friday. That
saw the dollar index dip slightly to 80.085, but still
stuck in a slim 79.800-80.300 range seen in the past week.
Euro bulls are betting the European Central Bank (ECB) will
stand pat on policy at its review on Thursday even as the threat
of deflation has mounted.
Data on Tuesday was encouraging with German unemployment
falling for a fourth month, while a business survey showed an
across-the-board rise in factory output that suggested a more
entrenched recovery for the euro zone.
In contrast, a recent string of disappointing Chinese data
has investors speculating on more action from Beijing. Just this
week, two surveys highlighted persistent weakness in China's
Such stimulus hopes have in part helped support demand for
commodity currencies. The Australian dollar hit a four-month
high of $0.9310 on Tuesday and last traded at $0.9241.
It's New Zealand counterpart reached a 2-1/2 year high of
$0.8702, before consolidating at $0.8617.
There is no major economic data due out of Asia on
Wednesday, leaving many investors waiting for Friday's release
of U.S. non-farm payrolls.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)