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June 24, 2017

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Dollar mixed in Asia after Fed chief comments

TOKYO--The dollar was mixed in Asia Thursday after it rose on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's comments that the central bank would keep paring back its stimulus as the U.S. economy recovers.

In afternoon Tokyo trading, the greenback bought 101.83 yen, slightly lower than 101.87 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon after Yellen's congressional testimony.

The euro fetched US$1.3914 and 141.70 yen, against US$1.3911 and 141.74 yen in U.S. trade, as the European Central Bank (ECB) holds a policy meeting later in the day.

The dollar's rise was capped by Yellen's reiteration of the Fed's overall dovish stance, saying that the economy still needs the help of ultra-low interest rates and that there was still no threat from inflation. A speedier pull back on the Fed's monetary easing would tend to boost the dollar.

The top U.S. central banker also cautioned over the high level of slack in the jobs market and the slowdown in the real estate market as reasons to keep the Fed's quantitative easing plan in place for the time being.

"Risk assets in general enjoyed a positive session as Yellen's cautious comments on U.S. housing market soothe worries of any hawkish surprise while President Putin's seemingly calmer comments also helped," Credit Agricole said.

The ECB is widely expected to hold off launching fresh stimulus measures at its monthly meeting Thursday.

But investors were keen to hear ECB chief Mario Draghi's post-meeting comments as speculation builds that the threat of eurozone deflation could force policymakers to act.

The dollar firmed to SG$1.2495 from SG$1.2481 on Wednesday, to 32.45 Thai baht from 32.39 baht, and to 11,618 Indonesian rupiah from 11,522 rupiah.

The greenback eased to 1,022.15 South Korean won from 1,025.45 won, to 44.22 Philippine pesos from 44.31 pesos.

The Australian dollar rose to 93.60 U.S. cents from 93.38 cents while the Chinese yuan firmed to 16.34 yen from 16.30 yen.

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