CURRENCIES: Dollar Rises To Two-week High Against Yen

New York (Apr 21)  The U.S. dollar rose to a two-week high against the Japanese yen Monday after Japan's trade deficit expanded by more than expected last month.

The Japanese trade deficit increased to a record Yen1.45 trillion ($14 billion) in March, Japan'sMinistry of Finance said Monday. Exports rose 1.8% and imports surged 18.1% from a year earlier. Japan's fiscal 2013 deficit swelled to Yen13.75 trillion.

"Japan's swing from a trade surplus country to a deficit is one of the important shifts in the world economy in recent years," said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, in a note.

The dollar (USDJPY) rose to Yen102.59 from Yen102.42 late Thursday. That's the highest level since Yen103.09 on April 7, according to FactSet data. Several markets, including the U.S. stock market, were closed Friday for the Good Friday holiday.

U.S. stocks rose after a round of better-than-expected earnings reports and U.S. Treasurys gained as violence in eastern Ukraine escalated.

The ICE dollar index (DXY), which measures the greenback against a basket of six rivals, moved higher to 79.925 from 72.852 late Thursday. The WSJ Dollar Index , an alternate gauge that pits the dollar against a larger basket of rivals, inched up to 73.07 from 73.03 late Thursday.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index fell to 0.2 last month from 0.53 in February. The Conference Board's leading economic index rose 0.8% in March, suggesting a possible acceleration in growth.

The euro (EURUSD) fell to $1.3802 versus $1.3815 late Thursday. European markets were closed Monday for the Easter holiday. The British pound (GBPUSD) rose to $1.6800 from $1.6790 late Thursday.

The Australian dollar (AUDUSD) rose to 93.43 U.S. cents from 93.22 U.S. cents late Thursday.

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