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Dollar rises in Asia ahead of US Federal Reserve meeting

TOKYO--The dollar edged higher against the yen and euro in Asia on Wednesday as investors focus on the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting, the first under new chair Janet Yellen.

In Tokyo afternoon trade, the dollar bought 101.51 yen, up from 101.42 yen in New York Tuesday.

The euro fetched US$1.3919 and 141.28 yen compared with US$1.3932 and 141.29 yen.

The yen hardly moved after official data showed Japan ran a trade deficit for the 20th consecutive month in February, although the shortfall was well below a record shortfall suffered in January.

While analysts expect a further cut in the bank's stimulus program as the economy picks up, attention will be on Yellen's follow-up news conference.

“Janet Yellen will take charge of her first ... meeting as the new Fed chair, with markets widely expecting the Fed to taper by a further US$10 billion to US$55 billion per month,” NAB said.

“But more important will be the signals she gives at her press conference afterwards — in particular any changes to the Fed's forward guidance, as the unemployment rate continues to close in on the 6.5 percent 'threshold.'”

The Fed said when unveiling its stimulus that it would also keep interest rates at ultra low levels until unemployment falls below 6.5 percent.

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

It rose to 61.08 Indian rupees from 60.92 rupees on Tuesday, to 44.86 Philippine pesos from 44.64 pesos, and to 1,070.65 South Korean won from 1,067.83 won.

The greenback also firmed to SG$1.2653 from SG$1.2647 and to 11,345.00 Indonesian rupiah from 11,282.30 rupiah, while it weakened to 32.14 Thai baht from 32.16 baht.

The Australian dollar rose to 91.15 U.S. cents from 90.81 cents.

The Chinese yuan fetched 16.34 yen against 16.43 yen.

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