The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥93.95 level and was supported around the ¥92.10 level. The yen came off across the board as traders chased dollar-bloc yields plays in the loonie, Aussie, and kiwi. Bank of Japan reported it will restart its purchases of equities from banks on 23 February, a temporary program designed to help the ailing banking sector. The total size of the central bank’s purchases will likely be around ¥1 trillion and BoJ could announce new measures at the end of tonight’s Policy Board meeting to expand corporate debt purchase operations. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.45% to close at ¥7,534.44. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¥104.15 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥118.05 level and was supported around the ¥115.95 level. The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥133.70 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥79.60 level. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8378 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.8355. The government rejected a media report that it is forecasting a depreciation in the yuan. The government reported China’s 2008 current account surplus was around US$ 440 billion.
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