Yen ticks up after BoJ October minutes highlight price issues

The yen gained slightly on Thursday after central bank minutes highlighted the uneven scope for higher prices.

USD/JPY changed hands at 121.49, down 0.06%, while AUD/USD traded flat at 0.7148.

The Bank of Japan board expressed worries that the recent drop in crude oil prices could delay 2% CPI and blamed firms for a slow rise in wages amid record profits, the minutes of the bank’s Oct. 6-7 policy meeting released Thursday showed.

The discussion came tree weeks before the BoJ pushed back the timing for hitting its inflation target.

Many members believed the year-on-year rise in the CPI would accelerate as the base effect of last year’s plunge in crude oil prices dissipated and would reach around 2% “around the first half of fiscal 2016” because the output gap and inflation expectations were “likely to improve steadily and increase.”

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, eased 0.04% to 97.97.

Overnight, the dollar extended gains against the other major currencies on Wednesday, as the release of strong U.S. data boosted optimism over the strength of the economy.

Payroll processing firm ADP reported on Wednesday that U.S. non-farm private employment rose by 182,000 last month, above expectations for an increase of 180,000.

The economy created 190,000 jobs in September, whose figure was downwardly revised from a previously reported increase of 200,000.

Separately, the U.S. Commerce Department said that the trade deficit declined to $40.81 billion in September from $48.02 billion in August, whose figure was revised from a previously reported deficit of $48.3 billion.

Analysts had expected the U.S. trade deficit to narrow to $41.1 billion in September.

Also Wednesday, the Institute of Supply Management said its non-manufacturing purchasing manager’s index rose to 59.1 last month from 56.9 in September, well ahead of above forecasts of 56.5.

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