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Fed chief comments support dollar in Asian trade

TOKYO--The dollar edged down against the yen in Asia Wednesday after climbing in New York in response to the new Federal Reserve chief's pledge to maintain the bank's monetary policy, while U.S. lawmakers agreed to raise the debt ceiling.

In afternoon Tokyo trade, the greenback bought 102.50 yen, compared with 102.64 yen late in New York, while the euro was mixed at US$1.3640 and 139.81 yen against US$1.3638 and 139.99 yen in U.S. trading.

In her first testimony since taking the Fed chair, Janet Yellen told Congress she expects to continue predecessor Ben Bernanke's plan to gradually wind down the bond-buying scheme and keep interest rates low until there was a significant improvement in the jobs market.

The Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed's policy-making body which meets next month, could consider a pause in the stimulus tapering if economic conditions show a significant deterioration, she added.

Credit Agricole said that Yellen's comments “suggested recent data provided little scope for altering current tapering speed.”

The dollar was mostly lower against Asia-Pacific currencies.

It weakened to SG$1.2656 from SG$1.2688 on Tuesday, to 12,105 Indonesian rupiah from 12,163 rupiah, to 62.15 Indian rupees from 62.39 rupees, and to 44.94 Philippine pesos from 45.01 pesos.

It also eased to 32.68 Thai baht from 32.79 baht and to 1,062.95 South Korean won from 1,070.89 won. The Australian dollar bought 90.58 U.S. cents from 90.03 cents, while the Chinese yuan bought 16.92 Japanese yen from 16.88 yen.

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