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Dollar mixed in Asia ahead of Fed meet

TOKYO--The dollar was mixed in cautious Asian trade Thursday ahead of next week's U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting that could see the bank wind down its stimulus program.

The greenback fetched 102.57 yen in Tokyo, up from 102.40 yen in New York Wednesday but still off levels around 103.30 yen earlier this week.

The euro strengthened to US$1.3791 and 141.47 yen compared with US$1.3785 and 141.19 yen.

Dealers said there were few fresh factors to drive business with some investors buying the U.S. unit on dips.

A series of strong U.S. data recently — including falling unemployment and strong economic growth — have led many analysts to bet the Fed will cut its bond-buying this month.

And on Tuesday those expectations were amplified when Democrats and Republicans announced a two-year budget deal which, if passed by Congress, would avert a shutdown crisis such as the one that paralyzed Washington in October.

Economists said the news had given the Fed — which has expressed concern over Washington's repeated policy brinksmanship — more ammunition to chip away at its US$85 billion-a-month asset purchase program.

The central bank has said it will only start reeling in its stimulus once the world's biggest economy is on a firm footing.

The Fed's two-day policy meeting starts on Dec. 17.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will testify on policy before the EU parliament later Thursday, while eurozone industrial production figures are also due to be released.

The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It rose to 32.08 Thai baht against 32.02 baht Wednesday, to SG$1.2526 from SG$1.2494, and to 61.61 Indian rupees from 61.36 rupees.

The greenback weakened to 11,960 Indonesian rupiah from 11,985 rupiah, to 44.18 Philippine pesos from 44.27 pesos, and to 1,050.99 South Korean won from 1,052.60 won.

The Australian dollar fell to 90.29 U.S. cents from 91.35 cents, while the Chinese yuan bought 16.86 yen from 16.92 yen.

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