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Greenback up in Asia before Fed plan

TOKYO--The dollar rose against the yen in Asia Wednesday as investors await the end of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting to find out its plans for its stimulus program.

The greenback bought 102.91 yen in Tokyo, up from 102.63 yen in New York Tuesday but still well off a five-year high of 103.93 yen reached at the end of last week.

The euro, buoyed by improving eurozone inflation data, strengthened to US$1.3772 and 141.75 yen against US$1.3765 and 141.28 yen.

Fed policymakers will wrap up their two-day meeting after debating whether the economy is strong enough to immediately scale back its US$85 billion a month quantitative-easing (QE) program.

Analysts are split on whether it will act right away or wait until early in the new year as fourth-quarter data flows in. A pullback is usually a plus for the dollar.

With U.S. November housing starts figures also set to be released Wednesday.

Currency markets hardly moved after data out of Tokyo showed the nation's trade deficit expanded 35.1 percent on-year in November, driven by soaring energy costs in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The yen has been under pressure on expectations the Bank of Japan, which holds a two-day meeting this week, will unveil further easing measures to counter slowing growth.

The dollar was also mostly higher against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It edged up to 1,052.35 South Korean won from 1,051.75 won, and to 44.29 Philippine pesos from 44.16 pesos. The unit also rose to 12,181 Indonesia rupiah from 12,126 rupiah, and to 32.23 Thai baht from 32.02 baht.

The Australian dollar was at 89.05 U.S. cents from 89.42 cents but the greenback slipped to 61.87 Indian rupees from 61.96 rupees.

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

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