sense that the new BOJ regime after (Governor Masaaki) Shirakawa is expected to do everything and anything available, so after profit taking, it's a good opportunity to re-enter the 'Abe trade' because it's all about expectations," said Shogo Fujita, chief Japanese bond strategist at Bank of America in Tokyo.
The "Abe trade" refers to investors betting on a weakening yen and rising Japanese equities on perception Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will pursue aggressive fiscal and monetary policies to pull Japan out of deflation and economic stagnation.
Data on Thursday confirming a deteriorating Japanese trade balance also encouraged yen selling, traders said. Japan logged a record annual trade deficit in 2012.
Earlier on Thursday, South Korea said its economy grew 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 on a quarterly basis. But it fell short of around 0.8 percent growth that the Bank of Korea had projected as recently as in October, underscoring a delayed global recovery due to persistent uncertainties hobbling the major economies.
The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday an unexpectedly stubborn euro zone recession and weakness in Japan will weigh on global economic growth this year before a rebound in 2014.
U.S. crude futures dropped 1.5 percent on Wednesday after a key oil pipeline reduced the volume flowing through it, raising concerns inventories at the Midwest delivery point for the contract might swell further. But Brent crude rose on supportive economic data. U.S. crude was up 0.3 percent at $95.53 a barrel early on Thursday.