The Japanese yen climbed against its major counterparts in the Asian session on Thursday, as most Asian shares fell amid worries about the spread of the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China before the Lunar New Year holiday.

The death toll from the virus has risen to 17 in China, with more than 570 cases confirmed.

There is some repricing in financial markets after analysts warned that the coronavirus outbreak could damage global growth.

Data from the Ministry of Finance showed that Japan posted a merchandise trade deficit of 152.5 billion yen in December.

That narrowly beat forecasts for a shortfall of 152.6 billion yen following the 85.2 billion yen deficit in November.

Figures from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed that Japan's all industry activity rose in November after falling in the previous month.

The all industry activity index rose 0.9 percent month-on-month in November, after a 4.8 percent fall in October. In September, industry activity increased 1.9 percent. Economists had expected a 0.4 percent rise for November.

The yen climbed to a 10-day high of 109.51 against the greenback and a 2-week high of 121.35 against the euro, from its early lows of 109.86 and 121.88, respectively. The next possible resistance for the yen is seen around 108.00 against the greenback and 120.00 against the euro.

The yen strengthened to new 2-week highs of 83.14 against the loonie and 72.09 against the kiwi, off its early lows of 83.63 and 72.42, respectively. If the yen extends rise, 81.5 and 71.00 are possibly seen as its next resistance levels against the loonie and the kiwi, respectively.

Reversing from its early lows of 113.51 against the franc and 144.41 against the pound, the yen edged up to 113.07 and 143.66, respectively. On the upside, 111.00 and 140.00 are likely seen as the next resistance levels for the yen against the franc and the pound, respectively.

The yen bounced off to 75.08 against the aussie, from a 2-day low of 75.49 seen at 7:45 pm ET. This may be compared to a 2-week high of 75.00 seen earlier in the session. The yen may find target resistance around the 74.00 mark.

Looking ahead, the European Central Bank's interest rate decision is due at 7:45 am ET. Economists expect the bank to maintain its refi rate unchanged at zero percent and the deposit rate at -0.50 percent.

In the New York session, U.S. weekly jobless claims for the week ended January 18 and leading index for December are scheduled for release.

At 10:00 am ET, Eurozone consumer sentiment for January will be featured.

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