Bank of Japan has left its main target for monetary stimulus unchanged at an annual 80 trillion yen ($650 billion), but expanded the range of assets it can buy. The news propelled the yen to wipe its heavy losses and gain considerable ground; the Japanese currency hit a two-week low against the dollar earlier at 123.53, before aggressively pulling back and rising 0.30% to 122.00. Yen jumped to a two-week high against the euro at 132.47, after dipping earlier in the day to 133.76. It surged to a 9-week high against sterling at 182.08, after falling earlier to 183.90.
Japan's main stocks index Nikkei was hammered subsequently, with investors disappointed from the lack of more stimuli, and as a stronger yen makes life harder for exporters. The index dived 1.77% to 19,082, after hitting a two-week high earlier in the day at 19,843; and poised for a third consecutive weekly loss of 0.65%. Australia's S&P\ASX 200 index was up 0.10% for the day, set for its first weekly profit in a month at 1.54%. China's CSI300 index for biggest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 0.57%, while Korea's KOSPI ticked up 0.11%.
Wall Street closed down, affected by a renewed fall by oil prices. Dow Jones tumbled 253 points, or 1.43% to 17,495. NASDAQ lost 68 points, or 1.35% to 5,002. S&P 500 slid 31 points, or 1.50% to 2,041.
Oil prices were mixed, with U.S. crude futures down 14 cents, or 0.39% to $34.82 a barrel. Brent futures on the other hand gained 28 cents, or 0.76% to $37.17 per barrel. Both were set for a third weekly loss however; 2.26% for the former and 2.00% for the latter.
Sterling plunged to an eight-month low against the dollar yesterday at 1.4868, before recovering modestly today to 1.4919. The dollar's index, which measures the currency's performance against a basket of major rivals, fell 0.30% to 98.92, after hitting a two-week high yesterday at 99.35.
Due to be released today, Canada's CPI for November is forecast to have risen 0.1% m\m, while Core CPI is expected to remain unchanged m\m. A higher inflation is usually positive for the currency.