The Japanese yen extended its advance against the other major currencies in the Asian session on Friday, as the ongoing political unrest in Yemen raised the appeal of safe-haven assets.

Saudi Arabia has launched airstrikes targeting Houthi rebels in Yemen with the support of its Gulf region allies and the U.S. The country has been facing a power vacuum from January, when the rebels staged an apparently successful coup, forcing president Abd rabbu Mansour Hadi and his cabinet to resign.

Saudi ambassador in the US, Adel al-Jubeir said the military action was aimed to defend the “legitimate government” of Hadi, who has taken refuge in the southern port city of Aden.

The news has led to worries about a broader sectarian conflict in the Middle East, as the Saudis consider the Houthi rebels as proxies for Iran.

In economic news, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed that the value of retail sales in Japan was down 1.8 percent on year in February, coming in at 10.723 trillion yen. That missed forecasts for a decline of 1.5 percent following the 2.0 percent fall in January.

Sales from large retailers advanced 1.3 percent on year to 1.499 trillion yen – beating expectations for an increase of 0.7 percent following the flat reading in the previous month.

Data from the Ministry of Communications and Internal Affairs showed that overall consumer prices in Japan gained 2.2 percent on year in February, smaller than the 2.3 percent increase expected by economists and down from 2.4 percent in January.

Core CPI, which excludes the volatile prices of food, added an annual 2.0 percent. That was also shy of expectations for 2.1 percent and down from 2.2 percent in the previous month.

Also, the unemployment rate in Japan came in at a seasonally adjusted 3.5 percent in February, in line with expectations and down from 3.6 percent in January.

Amid uncertainties concerning the U.S. monetary policy and economic outlook, the JPY has been trading higher in recent sessions. Since March 24, the yen has gained 1.50 percent against the euro and 1.60 percent against the Swiss franc.

Thursday, the yen rose 1.05 percent against the euro, 0.47 percent against the pound, 0.25 percent against the U.S. dollar and 0.62 percent against the Swiss franc.

In the Asian trading today, the yen rose to a 4-day high of 123.45 against the Swiss franc, from yesterday’s closing quote of 123.67. The yen may now test resistance near the 119.70 region.

Moving away from an early low of 129.85 against the euro, the yen appreciated to 129.66. This may be compared to an early 4-day low of 129.49. On the upside, 126.50 is seen as the next resistance level for the yen.

Against the U.S., the Australia, the New Zealand and the Canadian dollars, the yen edged up to 119.07, 92.89, 90.24 and 95.23 from yesterday’s closing quotes of 119.16, 93.28, 90.50 and 95.46, respectively. If the yen extends its uptrend, it is likely to find resistance around 116.90 against the greenback, 90.50 against the aussie, 86.87 against the kiwi and 92.16 against the loonie.

Having fallen to 177.31 against the pound earlier, the yen edged up to 176.88. The yen is likely to find resistance near the 175.00 region.

Looking ahead, German import price index and U.K. nationwide house price index – both for February, are due to be released in the European session.

At 4:00 am ET, Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane will deliver a speech about socio-economic complexity at the Lorentz Center, in Amsterdam. Subsequently, after 45 minutes, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is expected to participate in a panel discussion titled “Debt and Financial Stability – Regulatory Challenges” at the Bundesbank conference in Frankfurt.

Bank of England Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent will deliver a speech at the Imperial Business School in London at 5:15 am ET.

At 6:30 am ET, U.S. Federal Reserve Governor Stanley Fischer will deliver a speech titled “The Nonbank Financial Sector: Issues and Regulation” at the Deutsche Bundesbank Conference titled “Debt and Financial Stability – Regulatory Challenges” in Frankfurt.

In the New York session, preliminary third quarter GDP data and U.S. University of Michigan’s final consumer sentiment index for March are due.

At 3:35 pm ET, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is expected to speak about monetary policy at the Federal Reserve Bank Conference titled “The New Normal for Monetary Policy” at San Fransisco.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company –