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Asian shares ease ahead of BoJ move

Jan 22 2013 07:49 AFP

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Hong Kong - Asian markets were mostly lower on Tuesday in quiet trade as dealers sit tight ahead of the conclusion of a Bank of Japan policy meeting later in the day.

With expectations high that after a two-day meeting the board will unveil further monetary easing measures and set itself a two percent inflation target, the dollar and euro resumed their upward trend against the yen.

Tokyo dipped 0.10%, while Hong Kong eased 0.21%, Shanghai fell 0.63% and Seoul was flat, while Sydney lost 0.2%.

The Nikkei in Tokyo has surged as the yen has tumbled in recent months, after Shinzo Abe promised before December's election that he would urge the bank to be more aggressive in its battle to save the economy.

Abe and his Democratic Party of Japan swept to power in the poll and has since moved to bring BoJ policies into line with his new government's position.

Dealers have been betting on fresh easing by the bank to boost the anaemic economy, while there are also expectations it will fall into line with the government's demand for a two percent rate of inflation, both of which would weigh on the yen.

In early trade the dollar, which on Friday in New York hit ¥90.24 - its highest since June 2010 - bought ¥89.68 in Tokyo against ¥89.50 in European trade on Monday.

The euro rose to ¥119.30 from ¥119.20 while the single currency bought $1.3309 against $1.3320.

US markets were closed on Monday for a public holiday.

"Anything less and the markets would now be sorely disappointed," London-based Capital Economics said in a note.

But an expected ¥10 trillion boost to the programme, after an expansion of the same amount in December, "would be just an extension of what the BoJ has been doing and might not be enough to satisfy... Abe", said Daisuke Karakama, senior market economist at Mizuho Corporate Bank.

Oil prices were mixed, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February shedding 25 cents to $95.31 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for March delivery gaining 13 cents to $111.84.

Gold was at $1 690.40 at 02:00 GMT compared with $1 688.89 late on Monday.

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