USD/JPY gains on upbeat Chinese growth rates

The dollar firmed against the yen on Wednesday after better-than-expected Chinese growth rates enticed investors out of safe-haven positions in the Japanese currency.

In U.S. trading, USD/JPY was up 0.38% and trading at 102.30, up from a session low of 101.81 and off a high of 102.37.

The pair was expected to test support at 101.33, Friday's low, and resistance at 104.12, the high from April 4.

Data released earlier revealed that China’s gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 7.4% in the first three months of 2014, slowing from 7.7% in the fourth quarter, but beating expectations for a 7.3% reading, which softened the yen as investors ditched the safe-harbor currency to take on risk.

Meanwhile in the U.S., industrial production rose 0.7% in March from February, beating expectations for a 0.5% reading, which supported the dollar, though soft U.S. housing data watered down the greenback's advance.

The Commerce Department reported earlier that housing starts rose 2.8% in March to 946,000, missing analyst forecasts for a 6.4% increase to 973,000 units.

Separately, building permits, an indicator of future demand for housing, fell 2.4% in March to 990,000, defying market expectations for a 0.6% increase.

The yen, meanwhile, was down against the euro and down against the pound, with EUR/JPY up 0.47% at 141.45, and GBP/JPY trading down 0.82% at 171.86.

On Thursday, the U.S. is to publish data on initial jobless claims and a report on manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region.