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Dollar firm in Asia ahead of Yellen speech

TOKYO--The dollar held steady in Asia on Tuesday as concerns over a Ukrainian clash with Russia eased, while investors looked to a speech by the U.S. Federal Reserve chief this week.

In afternoon Tokyo trade, the greenback rose to 102.62 yen, from 102.57 yen in New York and 102.32 yen in Tokyo earlier Monday.

The euro was weaker at US$1.3351 from US$1.3363, while it bought 137.04 yen against 137.05 yen in U.S. trade.

The Japanese yen and Swiss franc, considered safe-haven currencies in times of turmoil, notched up gains Friday after Ukraine said it had destroyed some Russian armored cars, sparking fears of an escalation. Moscow dismissed the claim.

A weekend meeting of the two nations' foreign ministers, which also involved officials from France and Germany, concluded with an agreement for the sides to meet again and continue trying to de-escalate the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

In the Gaza Strip, a new 24-hour cease-fire came into effect Tuesday after Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed to extend a five-day truce.

Later Tuesday, investors were looking to U.S. inflation data for July to get a snapshot of the state of the world's number one economy.

U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen is to deliver a keynote address at the central bank's annual economic conference this week, with investors eyeing any change in the timeline for raising interest rates.

The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It edged lower to SG$1.2443 from SG$1.2446 on Monday, to 11,675.10 Indonesian rupiah from 11,679.90 rupiah, and to 60.74 Indian rupees from 60.77 rupees.

The dollar rose to 43.68 Philippine pesos from 43.65 pesos, to 31.84 Thai baht from 31.82 baht.

The U.S. unit was almost flat at 1,017.58 South Korean won against 1,017.59 won.

The Australian dollar rose to 93.36 U.S. cents from 93.23 cents, while the Chinese yuan firmed to 16.69 yen from 16.61 yen.

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