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Dollar up in Asia after Fed's stimulus hint

TOKYO--The dollar edged up in Asia Tuesday, after big gains in New York as a Federal Reserve official hinted that the U.S. central bank could announce a winding down of its stimulus program as early as next week.

The greenback turned up to 103.30 yen in afternoon trading, against 103.28 yen in New York and well up from the levels around 103 yen earlier Monday in Tokyo.

The euro gained to US$1.3756 from US$1.3737 while it also rose to 142.08 yen from 141.89 yen in U.S. trading.

On Monday, James Bullard, the president of the Fed's St. Louis branch, said in a speech that “a small taper” of the US$85 billion a month asset-purchase program might be a possibility as policymakers wrestle with how to respond to signs of improvement in the world's biggest economy.

Strong Chinese economic data has helped boost confidence among investors who are looking to Thursday's U.S. retail sales report for November.

The yen has been under pressure after weak Japanese growth data on Monday boosted expectations that the Bank of Japan will launch another round of monetary easing to prop up the economy.

The euro has been notching up gains after the European Central Bank last week held off any new interest rate cuts despite prolonged low inflation.

That followed the ECB's surprise cut last month of its central refinancing rate by a quarter-point to counter the threat of deflation.

The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It weakened to 32.10 Thai baht from 32.14 baht the previous day, to 1,052.60 South Korean won from 1,053.35 won, and to SG$1.2494 from SG$1.2510.

The greenback strengthened to 61.22 Indian rupees from 61.04 rupees, to 11,990 Indonesian rupiah from 11,980 rupiah, to 44.29 Philippines pesos from 43.97 pesos.

The Australian dollar was unchanged at 91.07 U.S. cents, while the Chinese yuan bought 17.01 yen from 16.93 yen.

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