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Yen Weakens Amid Risk Appetite

The Japanese yen dropped against its major counterparts in the Asian session on Friday amid risk appetite, as Asian shares rose amid optimism that the U.S. and China will eventually reach a long-term trade deal. Comments by the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that the U.S. central bank would be patient about raising interest rates also boosted sentiment.

In a speech on Thursday, Powell predicted no recession in 2019 and underscored the message of patience with further interest-rate hikes.

Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida also said the Fed could afford to take a wait-and-see stance on interest rates if headwinds to the economy from financial markets or global growth prove persistent.

Data from the Ministry of Finance showed that Japan had a current account surplus of 757.2 billion yen in November. That exceeded expectations for a surplus of 566.3 billion yen and was down from 1,309.9 billion yen in October.

The trade balance reflected a deficit of 559.1 billion yen versus expectations for a shortfall of 612.6 billion yen, following the 321.7 billion yen deficit in the previous month.

The Bank of Japan said that overall bank lending in Japan was up 2.4 percent on year in December, coming in at 534.545 trillion yen. That follows the 2.1 percent increase in November.

The yen slipped to a 2-day low of 82.13 against the loonie, 11-day low of 74.05 against the kiwi and more than a 2-week low of 78.23 against the aussie, from its early highs of 81.79, 73.45 and 77.81, respectively. The yen is seen finding support around 84.5 against the loonie, 76.00 against the kiwi and 80.00 against the aussie.

Having climbed to a 4-day high of 110.05 against the franc at 6:45 pm ET, the yen reversed direction and declined to 110.33. If the yen falls further, 112.5 is likely seen as its next support level.

The yen dropped to 125.00 against the euro and 138.37 against the pound, off its previous highs of 124.62 and 138.08, respectively. The next likely support for the yen is seen around 128.00 against the euro and 140.00 against the pound.

The yen pared gains to 108.43 against the greenback, from an early high of 108.23. On the downside, 112.00 is possibly seen as the next support level for the yen.

Looking ahead, U.K. industrial production, trade data and GDP for November are due in the European session.

In the New York session, U.S. CPI and monthly budget statement for December are scheduled for release.

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