JPY trends weaker ahead of March trade data

The Japanese yen weakened slightly in Asia on Monday ahead of trade data with markets shut in Australia and New Zealand.

USD/JPY traded at 102.45, up 0.02%, ahead of the data. The US Dollar Index traded at 79.94, up 0.02%.

Japan's March trade data is due at 0850 Tokyo time (2350 GMT). The forecast is for a trade deficit worth ¥1.070 trillion, with exports seen up 6.5% year-on-year and showing a 16.7% increase.

Last week, the dollar ended the week higher against the yen as market sentiment was boosted by easing tensions over Ukraine, while upbeat U.S. economic reports also supported the dollar.

Concerns over the crisis in eastern Ukraine however continued over the Easter weekend as the U.S. and the European Union pushed plans to 'de-escalate' the crisis.

The dollar also received a boost after upbeat U.S. data on manufacturing and employment on Thursday pointed to underlying strength in the economy.

The Labor Department reported the number of people filing for unemployment benefits edged up to 304,000, below analysts’ forecasts and not far from the six-and-a-half year low of 300,000 touched the previous week.

In the week ahead, market watchers will be focusing on U.S. data on housing and manufacturing activity, while manufacturing data from China will also be closely watched. The euro zone is to release data on private sector activity, while the U.K. is to produce a report on retail sales.

Also markets in the U.K. and the euro zone are to remain closed for Easter Monday.