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Yen edges higher after BOJ holds off from further easing

The yen pushed higher on Thursday after the Bank of Japan kept policy unchanged and held off from expanding its monetary stimulus, disappointing some market players who had been looking for further easing.

The dollar slipped to as low as 118.54 yen after the BOJ decision and last traded near 118.61 yen, down 0.4 percent on the day.

The BOJ kept unchanged its pledge to increase base money, or cash and deposits at the central bank, at an annual pace of 80 trillion yen ($672 billion) through purchases of government bonds and risky assets.

While most market participants had been expecting the BOJ to stand pat, there was some slight speculation that it might add to its monetary stimulus on Thursday, analysts said.

The dollar will probably stay in a 117 yen to 122 yen range for a while, said Sim Moh Siong, FX strategist for Bank of Singapore.

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"There's no obvious catalyst for yen weakness at this stage," Sim said.

The BOJ will probably take a wait-and-see stance for a while since wage growth seems to be picking up in Japan and the economy is improving, albeit mildly, Sim said.

The dollar meanwhile has been held back by recent weakness in U.S. data, including data on Wednesday that showed the U.S. economy nearly stalled in the first quarter.

The Federal Reserve's post-meeting statement on Wednesday said the economic slowdown was probably transitory but still suggested any interest rate hike will not happen soon.