The yen appreciated vis-Ã -vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the Â¥103.15 level and was capped around the Â¥104.00 figure. Sentiment in the U.S. dollar eroded further overnight as oil futures spiked and an explosion was reported in New Yorkâ€™s Times Square. Data released in Japan overnight saw the January index of leading indicators fall to 30.0 from a revised 50.0 in December while the coincident index slipped to 22.2 from a revised 63.6 in December. The Fukuda administration is tomorrow expected to formally announce its nomination of Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Muto to succeed outgoing Governor Fukui, who is retiring on 19 March. The main opposition party, DPJ, will rail against the nomination on grounds that Muto was a long-time mandarin at the Ministry of Finance and lacks the stature needed to head the central bank. BoJ is expected to keep the overnight call rate unchanged at 0.50% for the foreseeable future. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 1.88% to close at Â¥13,215.42. Dollar bids are cited around the Â¥101.20 level. The euro weakened vis-Ã -vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the Â¥158.00 figure and was capped around the Â¥158.90 level. The British pound and Swiss franc depreciated vis-Ã -vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the Â¥205.85 and Â¥100.00 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-Ã -vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.1059 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.1081. Data released in China today saw January property prices in 70 major cities up 11.3% y/y. Peopleâ€™s Bank of China Governor Zhou reported the central bank is not focusing on the exchange rate to counter inflation and said monetary policy will be fine-tuned at an appropriate time.
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