JPY trades flat in early Asia, AUD up after long break

The yen held flat against the dollar in Asia early Tuesday while the Australian dollar posted modest gains after an extra long weekend in a light data day.

USD/JPYY traded flat at 102.64 and AUD/USD held at 0.9339, up 0.12%, after markets in Australia were shut on Friday and Monday.

Asian markets are expected to keep focused on data ahead, including Japan's month-end CPI numbers and other central bank decisions due this week from Thailand and New Zealand.

NZD/USD traded at 0.8563, up 0.04%.

Overnight, better-than-expected U.S. forward-looking indicator coupled with soft Japanese trade figures boosted the dollary in a quiet session, with many global markets closed for the Easter holiday.

In the U.S. earlier, the Conference Board reported that its index of leading indicators, which measures future economic activity, increased 0.8% in March after a 0.5% rise in February, beating expectations for a 0.7% reading.

Elsewhere, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index decreased to 0.20 in March from 0.53 in February, in line with expectations.

The numbers reminded investors that even though the timing of rate hikes in the U.S. remains unclear, the Federal Reserve remains on track to continue tapering its monthly bond-purchasing program this year as the economy recovers.

Fed bond purchases, currently standing at $55 billion a month, weaken the dollar by suppressing interest rates, though talk of their dismantling often bolsters the greenback.

Elsewhere, Japan's March trade deficit widened to ¥1.446 trillion, outpacing a forecast for a ¥1.070 trillion figure.

Exports were up 1.8% on-year, missing a forecast of a 6.3% year-on-year gain and imports rose 18.1%, with expectations for a 16.2% increase.

The data for the full-year ended March showed the country reached a record trade deficit of ¥13.7 trillion.

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.01% at 80.04.

On Tuesday, the U.S. is to release private sector data on existing home sales.