Yen weakens after March trade deficit widens more than expected

The yen weakened further in Asia on Monday after data showed a wider than expected trade deficit for March and exports lagging.

USD/JPY traded at 102.58, up 0.15%, after the data. The US Dollar Index traded at 79.96, up 0.05%.

Japan's March trade trade deficit widened to ¥1.446 trillion, compared to a forecast of ¥1.070 trillion, with exports up 1.8% year-on-year, compared to 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.

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.

Markets in Australia and New Zealand are shut on Monday. Also markets in the U.K. and the euro zone are to remain closed for Easter Monday.