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    yen gains sharply after BoJ holds steady, Brexit in focus

    The yen gained further in Asia on Thursday as the Bank of Japan held steady, while the Aussie dropped despite solid jobs data as markets digested the latest Fed views and turned the focus on Brexit.

    USD/JPY changed hands at 104.74, down 1,20%, while NZD/USD rose 0.58% 0.7073. AUD/USD traded at 0.7391, down 0.24%, while GBP/USD was down 0.12% to 1.4189.

    The Bank of Japan as expected voted to keep the monetary base at ¥80 trillion annually along with negative rates at minus 0.1% on Thursday as it signaled that inflation expectations have weakened.

    In Australia, employment change figures for May showed a gain of 17,900 jobs, higher than the 15,000 jobs expected for an unemployment rate of 5.7% as seen.

    In the May Statement on Monetary Policy, the RBA said it expects the unemployment rate to remain around the current rate until mid-2017, beforedeclining gradually. Comments from RBA Assistant Governor Christopher Kent were noted.

    Earlier in New Zealand, first quarter GDP rose 0.7% quarter-on-quarter, compared to an expected rise of 0.5%, while the year-on-year pace came in at a gain of 2.8%, compared to 2.6% seen.

    On Wednesday afternoon, the Federal Open Market (FOMC), as expected, left the target range of its benchmark Federal Funds Rate unchanged at a level between 0.25 and 0.50%. It marked the fourth consecutive meeting the FOMC held rates steady at their current level since their historic rate hike in December. The FOMC voted unanimously 10-0 to support the monetary policy action. Previously, Kansas City Fed president Esther George served as the lone dissenter at FOMC meetings in March and April.

    "The Committee currently expects that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace and labor market indicators will strengthen," the FOMC said in the statement. "Inflation is expected to remain low in the near term, in part because of earlier declines in energy prices, but to rise to 2 percent over the medium term as the transitory effects of past declines in energy and import prices dissipate and the labor market strengthens further."

    The new projections aren't set in stone, but they do indicate how the views of officials are changing. The Fed doesn't see rates going as high as it saw before, and it sees taking a longer time to get to the endpoint officials have in mind.

    Markets pushed back expectations for a summer rate hike by the U.S. central bank after a dismal U.S. employment report for May, which showed the slowest rate of jobs growth since September 2010.

    The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, fell 0.16% to 94.52.

    Overnight, the dollar eased against the other major currencies on Wednesday after the Fed announcement, despite the release of upbeat U.S. data.

    The U.S. Commerce Department said producer prices rose by 0.4% last month, against forecasts for the 0.1% increase to remain at the levels seen in April.

    The producer price index was down 0.1% from a year earlier, in line with expectations.

    Core producer prices, which exclude food and energy, also rose 0.3% last month, above forecasts for a 0.1% increase.

    Separately, the New York Federal Reserve said its Empire State manufacturing index rose to 6.01 in June from a reading of -9.02 the previous month. Analysts had expected the index to improve to -4.00 this month.

    On a less positive note, another report showed that U.S. industrial production decreased by 0.4% last month, worse than expectations for a decline of 0.2%.

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