The Federal Reserve’s March policy meeting minutes revealed that the Central Bank is more cautious about the monetary stance, and this dampened any aggressive rate hike expectations. The news led the U.S. dollar (CURRENCY:USD) down, forcing it to re-test its 17-months low against the Japanese Yen.
Yen firms up
USD/JPY fell 1.38% to 108.28 during the late Asian trade. The Yen has appreciated by nearly 9.6% so far this year against the dollar. The steep rise in the Japanese currency has elevate concerns about the country’s exports, which have been hit the most. In view of the substantial appreciation, a senior Japanese finance ministry official has reassured the market that it will take measures to prevent further appreciation of the currency.
In global equities, Asian markets finished mixed as traders remained cautious. Among the Asian indices, the Hang Seng gained the most, recording a gain of 0.29% to 20,266.05. Surprisingly, Japan’s Nikkei 225 managed to close higher despite a steep run in yen as it added 0.22% to 15,749.84. Similar to Asian markets, European markets also responded on a mixed note. The upside swing in oil and declining U.S. dollar prevented steep losses. Britain’s FTSE 100 is down 0.21%.
Oil prices volatile
Oil prices found support during the early European hours as an unexpected decline in U.S. crude stockpiles favoured the commodity. However, a reversal was seen in West Texas Intermediate which fell 0.11% to $37.71. Brent Crude gained 0.10% to $39.88 during the day. The volatile movement in oil prices mostly reflected market concerns about crude oversupplies ahead of the OPEC and non-OPEC meeting on April 17. As per the Energy Information Administration, U.S. crude stock inventories fell 4.9 million barrels in the previous week.