- The Japanese yen stayed mildly weaker against the dollar in Asia Friday as minutes released from the Bank of Japan February board meeting were along expected lines.

USD/JPY traded at 101.85, up 0.05%, after the minutes showed that several BoJ boad members said the the decision in February to expand pro-growth lending tools should not be considered additional monetary easing.

Last month the nine-member board decided unanimously to double the scale of the two programs to help boost bank lending and extend the application period for these facilities by one year.

"Many members said that the bank had been stating that, in mplementing quantitative and qualitative monetary easing, it would examine both upside and downside risks to economic activity and prices, and make adjustments as appropriate," the minutes said.

"These members continued that the revisions discussed at this meeting should not be taken as such ''adjustments'' to achieving the price stability target of 2% as expected.

AUD/USD traded at 0.9036, up 0.04%, in a light data daty.

Overnight, the dollar traded mixed against most major currencies, erasing earlier losses after better-than-expected U.S. retail sales and jobless claims reports fueled demand for the currency.

News reports that Russia is conducting new military exercises in the Crimea region of Ukraine spooked investors and sparked demand for safe-haven asset classes, the dollar and yen especially.

Tensions between Russia and the West have remained high ahead of Sunday''s referendum in Ukraine’s Crimea region, controlled by pro-Russian forces, on whether citizens there want to join Russia.

Those concerns elevated the dollar and erased earlier losses stemming from upbeat takes on the euro area economy from various policymakers.

The Commerce Department reported that U.S. retail sales rose 0.3% in February, ending two months of declines and better than market expectations for a 0.2% increase.

Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, also rose 0.3% last month, ahead of expectations for a 0.2% rise.

Separately, the Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing new claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell by 9,000 to a three-month low of 315,000 last week.

Analysts had expected initial jobless claims to rise by 6,000 last week.

Soft production data out of China fueled demand for both the dollar and the yen.

Chinese industrial production rose 8.6% in the first two months of 2014, according to data released on Thursday, missing market expectations for a 9.5% increase, while Chinese retail sales rose by 11.8%, beneath market forecasts for a 13.5% gain.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.02% at 79.74.

On Friday, the U.S. is to round up the week with data on producer price inflation and preliminary data from the University of Michigan on consumer sentiment.

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