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Dollar steady in Asia ahead of Fed meet

TOKYO--The dollar held steady in Asia Tuesday ahead of a key U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting, while the euro won support from upbeat business activity data for the embattled eurozone.

The greenback fetched 103.00 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, nearly flat from 103.02 yen in New York Monday, while the European single currency bought US$1.3768 and 141.76 yen from US$1.3761 and 141.77 yen.

Data Monday showed U.S. industrial output expanded 1.1 percent in November with manufacturing showing a fourth consecutive monthly gain.

The news added to speculation that the central bank will this week announce a wind-down of its US$85 billion-a-month bond-buying program.

Adding to downward pressure on the yen is a growing sense that the Bank of Japan will boost its own monetary easing scheme after a sharp slowdown in third-quarter economic growth — despite an upbeat business sentiment survey Monday. The bank holds a two-day policy meeting from Thursday.

The euro enjoyed support thanks to figures showing business activity in the 17-nation eurozone ticked up in December.

Markit Economics said its eurozone composite purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 52.1 from 51.7 in November. Anything above 50 is considered growth and anything below points to contraction.

The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

The greenback weakened to 1,051.75 South Korean won from 1,052.55 won, to 44.16 Philippine pesos from 44.17 pesos, and to 61.96 Indian rupees from 62.20.

The unit rose to 12,126 Indonesian rupiah from 12,120 rupiah while it was unchanged at 32.02 Thai baht.

The Australian dollar edged down to 89.42 U.S. cents from 89.52 cents.

The “Aussie” fell below the 90 U.S. cent mark last week as the head of the country's central bank said he wanted to see it at 85 U.S. cents to help stimulate trade-exposed sectors of the economy.

The Chinese yuan changed hands at 16.97 yen from 16.91 yen.

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