The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥93.60 level and was supported around the ¥92.90 level. Minutes from the Bank of Japan Policy Board meeting on 16-17 March were released overnight in which some rate-setters concluded there was no solid justification for enhancing monetary conditions. The market may also increasingly come to consider that the bank would take whatever policy action the market has anticipated. BoJ policymakers doubled a lending program for commercial banks to ¥20 trillion. Many members said the program's expansion reaffirmed the bank's stance on continuing to consistently make a contribution to improve economic growth and overcome deflation. One common criticism is that the program will accomplish little as far as actually improving liquidity measures in the real economy and stimulating final private demand. Data released in Japan overnight saw March bank lending decline 1.8% y/y, worse than the prior reading of -1.5%. Data to be released in the Australasian session will include the March domestic corporate goods price index and March Tokyo-area condominium sales. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.42% to close at 11,251.90. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¥96.85 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥127.45 level and was supported around the ¥126.60 level. The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥144.50 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥88.30 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8257 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.8236. U.S. and Chinese officials will convene in Washington, D.C. this week to discuss China's exchange rate policy and other financial aspects of the bilateral relationship. China today reported its foreign exchange reserves totaled US$ 2.447 trillion at the end of March. Also, China's trade surplus in the first quarter was off 77% to US$ 14.49 billion. China is said to have posted a rare US$ 7.24 billion trade deficit in March.
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